In the brief history of the Washington Nationals, they've made trades with a number of other big league clubs, but never one with the nearby Baltimore Orioles. Not that there haven't been a number of players to perform for both teams - Jerry Hairston Jr., Corey Patterson, Jeffrey Hammonds and Tony Batista come to mind, among others - but none moved from one team to the other as a result of a trade or waiver claim.
Yesterday on "The Mid-Atlantic Sports Report" we talked at some length about the mere potential of a deal between the two teams. My point was that, of the players who might be made available, only Adam Jones would be of any great interest to Washington, and it was likely that the Orioles would be looking for a four- or five-for-one kind of trade. The Orioles want a reliable 200-inning big league starting pitcher - or two - and some high-ceiling prospects.
Baltimore's window of opportunity to maximize its return for Jones is beginning to close. He can be a free agent following the 2013 season, so unless the Orioles are able to get him to agree to a contract extension, a lot of rival general managers would not be likely to offer as much next winter for only a single guaranteed season.
My colleague Mel Antonen postulated before Christmas that there are currently as many as 10 other clubs - including Washington - that might be a fit for Jones. Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette says he's never shopped his center fielder, but it's clear he'll listen to offers for anyone other than catcher Matt Wieters.
I don't know Jones. He's a genuine talent, to be sure, and may want to take his skills to a market where there's a better chance of winning quickly. I'm told by some club sources that he's not shown much interest in signing a contract extension with the Orioles.
The Nats grabbed headlines when they sent four players to Oakland for lefty starter Gio Gonzalez. Do they have that many more prospects to spare? Some believe they do, especially young arms.
I seriously doubt you'll see a parkway transaction this winter. There are some marketing issues that may be problematic, and until the landing spot for Prince Fielder is known, the Nationals may be somewhat distracted.