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Nats, A's not close on Johnson talks

Nats, A's not close on Johnson talks

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals and Athletics have discussed possible trade scenarios recently, but nothing is imminent, according to a baseball source.

The last time the two clubs talked was last week. The A's have interest in first baseman Nick Johnson and the Nats would love to acquire first baseman Daric Barton, but Oakland is not willing to part with him. Last year, Barton, 23, was the A's regular first baseman. In 140 games, he hit .226 with nine home runs and 47 RBIs.

"Nothing is close," the source said. "Talks have not heated up between the Nationals and A's."

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Johnson has been the Nationals' regular first baseman since they moved to Washington in 2005, but he could be expendable if they acquire a first baseman. The team feels it cannot rely on Johnson because of his injury problems. In '08, Johnson missed most of the season due to a wrist injury.

This offseason, Washington tried to sign free agents Mark Teixeira and Adam Dunn, but Teixeira ended up signing an eight-year, $180 million contract with the Yankees, while Dunn, who is still unsigned, exceeded the Nationals' price range.

Washington also has interest in acquiring Yankees first baseman Nick Swisher. Swisher, who was traded from the White Sox to the Yankees in the offseason, hit .219 with 24 home runs and 69 RBIs in 2008.

Swisher was slated to be New York's regular first baseman, but he is now a reserve after the club signed Teixeira.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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