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Cubs, Nationals discussing deal for Jordan Zimmermann?

The sides are reportedly at the stage of exchanging names, according to a report.

Patrick Smith

UPDATE: Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports that the sides have not exchanged names, and that the Cubs are simply not going to acquire Zimmermann. This directly conflicts with reports from Wittenmyer and others.

ORIGINAL: The Cubs and Nationals are discussing a deal that would send right-hander Jordan Zimmermann to the Cubs, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. The teams have enough mutual interest in a deal that names have been discussed, and the Cubs would likely have to part with one of their young infield prospects in any deal involving Zimmermann.

The inclusion of Zimmermann in trade rumors is very surprising, as he is coming off an All-Star season in which he was 14-5 with a 2.66 ERA in 32 games. The Nationals have Stephen Strasburg, Doug Fister, Gio Gonzalez and Tanner Roark in their very strong rotation, so they may be willing to move Zimmermann in order to fill one of the weaker areas of their team by adding a middle infielder.

With the departure of Asdrubal Cabrera to free agency and only one year left on Ian Desmond's contract, the Nationals have been rumored to be looking for young, controllable middle infielders at points during the last year. Cubs' prospects Javier Baez, Addison Russell and Arismendy Alcantara all have the ability to play in the middle infield, so it is likely that one of that trio would head to Washington if a deal is struck.

Wittenmyer also mentions that one source said that he expected the Cubs to complete the deal along with signing free-agent right-hander Justin Masterson at some point in the near future. I'm told that the Cubs have had some discussions with Masterson, but that a deal is not close at this time. The club has also been linked to other free agents like Jon Lester, Russell Martin, Torii Hunter, Andrew Miller and Jonny Gomes, and is expected to make a couple of big splashes this winter as they prepare to contend in 2015 and beyond.