Rays Discussing Espinosa, Morse With Nationals

7:33am: There is currently no traction in trade discussions between the two sides, tweets Olney.

7:24am: Olney's colleague, Jayson Stark, reports that a source familiar with the talks says a trade sending Espinosa and Morse to Tampa Bay is unlikely despite the logical fit (Twitter link).

6:41am: ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that Rizzo is aiming high in his talks with the Rays about their pitchers.

12:44am: The Rays are nearing a one-year deal with James Loney, but the team is also discussing the possiblity of a trade with the Nationals that would involve starting pitching for Danny Espinosa and Michael Morse, according to Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio (Twitter link).

Morse would represent a major offensive upgrade from Carlos Pena at first base, or he could slot into left field with Desmond Jennings taking over B.J. Upton's old position of center field. Espinosa could help the Rays at either middle infield position, where they've had a bit of a carousel in recent years.

Both Jeremy Hellickson and James Shields have been mentioned frequently as potential trade chips for Rays GM Andrew Friedman. It's also been reported that David Price could be had for the right offer, though the asking price (no pun intended) there would undoubtedly be sky-high.

The Nationals have some infield flexibility given the presence of Steve Lombardozzi, and they could handle the loss of Morse's bat if general manager Mike Rizzo is able secure a new contract with Adam LaRoche.

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