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Oakland A's Ben Zobrist trade rumor: Nationals Michael Taylor trade topic, reports Ken Rosenthal

Discussions with the Nationals didn't go anywhere, but Ken Rosenthal also says the Athletics spoke separately about dealing Tyler Clippard back to the Nationals.

Michael Taylor. No, not that one.
Michael Taylor. No, not that one.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland Athletics were looking at Washington Nationals outfielder Michael Taylor and other Nationals pitching in separate discussions about Ben Zobrist and Tyler Clippard, but those talks did not go anywhere, writes Ken Rosenthal for FOX Sports. The right-handed batting Taylor, 24, is batting .227/.286/.370 in 168 plate appearances for his rookie season after going 8-for-39 with three walks in his 2014 cup of coffee.

Rosenthal says the A's "do not intend to act as a pure seller. ... Beane has shown in the past that he will operate as both a buyer and seller. An exchange with the Nats involving Zobrist and Taylor would have fit both descriptions." And that's about right. The A's are set to lose Coco Crisp, Josh Reddick, and Sam Fuld to free agency in 2017. Billy Burns, Mark Canha, Craig Gentry, and Stephen Vogt are the only other players on the current 40-man roster capable of playing in the outfield. From the rest of the farm, there just are not any outfielders coming up in the near term.

Don't get hung up on Michael Taylor, but on his type. Taylor, who is on pace to reach free agency in 2021, would cheaply fill one of the A's future needs while offering good corner outfield defense and some upside with the bat. The A's need outfielders in the future and could use some outfield depth now.

An outfielder that can contribute a little bit now with long term control and some upside going forward would be ideal for the A's, and would not necessarily preclude a stretch run in 2015. Such a cost-controlled player also opens up possibilities for extensions on players like Josh Reddick, since the A's won't need to look to free agency to fill that outfield hole.