In case you're interested, I was told today by someone privy to the situation that there indeed have been preliminary discussions between the Nationals and the Royals regarding righthander Zack Greinke.
Greinke, who won the 2009 AL Cy Young Award, is being shopped by Kansas City. He has 2 years to go on his contract at $13,5 million per year.
Paying a true top-of-the-rotation arm like Greinke isn't an issue; coming up with a package of players that would satisfy the Royals, however, is. As the story goes, K.C. GM Dayton Moore - a product of George Mason University - believes that any Nationals' package would have to begin with either pitcher Jordan Zimmermann or shortstop Ian Desmond. JZ is seen as a potentiall equal to Greinke eventually, and Desmond as a player they could either install at short and decline Yuniesky Betancourt's option, or flip to another club for more pitching.
There's that whole "you-don't wanna-trade-your-future" argument on the one side, but hey, Zack just turned 27 about 3 weeks ago; it's not like you're going after a guy in his 30's. True, his resume includes some early career emotional issues, but since becoming a full-time starter in 2008, he's been rock solid, racking up 200+ innings per year.
One possible roadblock to a trade is Greinke's option to block a deal to certain clubs, though he's yet to submmit a list of teams he finds unacceptable.
Moore told a Kansas City newspaper that he doesn't anticipate trading Greinke anytime soon, unless someone "blows him away" with an offer. I suspect any deals of that magnitude would wait until the winter meetings or thereafter.