NEW YORK -- The Nationals had a deal in place to acquire right-hander Zack Greinke, a baseball source confirmed to MLB.com. Greinke, however, used his no-trade clause to reject the deal.
Instead, the Royals traded Greinke to the Brewers for prospects, a deal Greinke was willing to accept. The trade was announced early Sunday afternoon.
No reason was given as to why Greinke turned down the deal with Washington, but he made it clear this past season that he would like to play for a team that wins on a consistent basis. The Nationals have yet to finish with a record over .500 since relocating to Washington.
"My only motivation now is winning," Greinke told MLB.com's Dick Kaegel in September. "When we're 20 games out, it's hard to get excited to come to the park."
It's not known whom the Royals would have acquired had Greinke accepted the move to Washington. Published reports indicated that reliever Drew Storen, infielder Danny Espinosa and right-hander Jordan Zimmermann may have been part of the deal.
The Nationals have been looking for an ace pitcher this offseason, but have so far come up empty-handed. Washington pursued Cliff Lee, but he ended up signing a five-year deal with the Phillies.
However, the Nationals are still in the mix to acquire Carl Pavano and Brandon Webb. They could also try to trade for Rays right-hander Matt Garza, but would have to give up a good deal in return, as the Rays are looking for high-level prospects and bullpen help.
General manager Mike Rizzo, who was not available for comment, said some weeks back that he wanted to acquire starting pitching so that he could put players in their proper places in the rotation. For example, the Nationals don't consider John Lannan an ace pitcher. They consider him a No. 3 or 4 starter on a good team.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.