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Nationals rumors: Washington interested in Howie Kendrick and Daniel Murphy

The Nationals could look to the free agent market to fill their hole at second base.

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Earlier today, William Ladson reported that the Nationals have reached out to the two remaining big name free agent second basemen.

The Nationals were in agreement with the Reds for a deal that would have sent Brandon Phillips to Washington, but he refused to allow the trade, as he has 10/5 rights which gives him a full no-trade clause.

If the 2016 season were to begin today, the Nationals would have Danny Espinosa and Anthony Rendon splitting 2nd base duty. However with Rendon penciled in at 3rd base, that leaves Espinosa as the only real option currently on the roster. After four consecutive subpar offensive campaigns, he's not likely going to be handed the starting role, which opens to the door for Kendrick or Murphy.

PA HR AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+
Kendrick 495 9 .295 .336 .409 .325 109
Murphy 538 14 .281 .322 .449 .325 110

Both players would represent a significant upgrade over Espinosa, however each comes with a cost. Both Kendrick and Murphy are expected to sign contracts north of $40 million, and each is attached to a qualifying offer, which would mean the Nationals would lose their first round pick in the 2016 amateur draft.

It's unclear how serious the Nationals are about acquiring either player, but with a clear need at second base, Washington could act quickly to ensure that they'll have offensive production at a position where they ranked 19th by wRC+ in MLB during the 2015 season.