The Nationals, continuing their quest to add a left-handed starting pitcher, are pushing hard to land the Athletics' Gio Gonzalez, according to major-league sources.
Gonzalez, 26, is perhaps the hottest pitcher available on the trade market, and the Marlins, Red Sox and Rangers are among the other teams showing strong interest in him.
The Nats want an established lefty to go with their two young right-handed starters, Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann. They were the runner-up for free-agent left-hander Mark Buerhle, who signed a four-year, $58-million contract with the Marlins.
To acquire Gonzalez, who is under club control for four more years, the Nats likely would need to part with at least one of their young starting pitchers, perhaps right-hander Brad Peacock or lefty Ross Detwiler. The team also is deep at catcher.
The Athletics earlier this month traded right-hander Trevor Cahill and lefty reliever Craig Breslow for three young players -- right-hander Jarrod Parker, outfielder Colin Cowgill and reliever Ryan Cook.
The team is entertaining offers for closer Andrew Bailey as well as Bailey, trying to collect as much young talent as possible as it prepares for a possible move to a new ballpark in San Jose.
Gonzalez over the past two seasons has averaged 16 wins and 201 innings while producing a 3.17 ERA. The Rangers' interest in him could accelerate if they lose out on the bidding for the rights to Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish.