It's no secret that Nationals general manager Jim Bowden covets Reds left fielder Adam Dunn — and no surprise that the Nats are pursuing Dunn, according to major-league sources.
Whether the Nationals can obtain Dunn is another question.
One, they will face competition from other clubs in the trade market as the non-waiver deadline draws closer.
Two, they might not be willing to meet the Reds' price, assuming the Reds even like their prospects.
And three, they would be risking a mere rental of Dunn, who will become a free agent at the end of the season if he is traded.
While a trade does not appear close, the Reds have scouted the Nationals' most talented minor-league club, Class A Potomac.
Bowden, who was the Reds' GM when the team drafted Dunn in 1998, probably thinks that if he can get Dunn to D.C., he can talk him into signing long-term.
Dunn, 28, would be the centerpiece of the Nationals' rebuilding program as they move into their new ballpark next season — and heaven knows that the Nats, last in the majors with 59 home runs, need the power.
Then again, after spending his entire career playing for losing teams in Cincinnati, Dunn might prefer to join an established contender.
In the worst-case scenario, if Bowden failed to sign Dunn long-term, the Nats would receive two high draft picks when he departed as a free agent.
It is not clear which other contenders are interested in Dunn. The Twins and Angels are among those looking for offense, and the Yankees and Red Sox always monitor the availability of big-name talent. The Padres, who have had past interest in Dunn, are more focused on improving their bench and adding depth to their rotation.