D.J. Short

AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Report: Nationals interested in Carlos Gonzalez and Charlie Blackmon

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After the Nationals missed out on free agent Jason Heyward, MASN Sports’ Pete Kerzel hears that the club continues to have dialogue with the Rockies about a potential trade for Carlos Gonzalez or Charlie Blackmon. Both are left-handed hitting outfielders, which is an area of need for Washington as they attempt to balance their lineup.

Gonzalez is owed $37 million over the next two seasons, so he could be an appealing alternative to the big-name free agent outfielders remaining on the market. The 30-year-old got off to a slow start this past season, but finished with a career-high 40 home runs to go along with a .271/.325/.540 batting line. Still, his injury history and home/road splits could give some teams pause about the Rockies’ asking price. They are believed to be looking for premium pitching in return.

After a breakout 2014, Blackmon delivered an even better follow-up this past season by batting .287/.347/.450 with 17 home runs, 58 RBI, and 43 stolen bases over 157 games. The 29-year-old is arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter and will remain under team control through 2018.

Blackmon could slot in center field for the Nationals, essentially replacing free agent Denard Span. However, Gonzalez might be better suited for a corner, which could mean more Bryce Harper in center field.