Contradicting earlier reports from the Sporting News’ Ken Rosenthal, the Washington Times’ Mark Zuckerman reports today that Washington have been stymied in their attempt to acquire Colorado OF Preston Wilson.

The key sticking point continues to be Wilson’s $12.5 million contract, of which about $6 million still is owed. The Rockies are looking for a trade partner to pay at least $3 million of Wilson’s salary, and the Nationals are unlikely to take on that much.

Even should the teams agree on financial terms, Wilson has the right to nix a deal because Washington is one of six clubs included in his limited no-trade clause. Sources close to the outfielder said he would waive the no-trade clause only if he does not lose any money.

The Rockies also have been talking to the Texas Rangers, Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers about a deal for Wilson, and those clubs appear to have a leg up on Washington.

Nationals general manager Jim Bowden has had his eye on Wilson, who turns 31 on July 19, for some time and earlier this week dispatched special assistant Bob Boone to Colorado to scout him. Bowden believes Wilson could inject some much-needed power into a Washington lineup that ranks last in the National League in home runs with 64.
Wilson is hardly a sure thing. Though he has 14 homers and 45 RBI in 68 games this season, he’s batting just .258 overall and .224 away from Coors Field. His power numbers almost surely would suffer at spacious RFK Stadium, which has yielded the fewest home runs in the majors.

If acquired, Wilson would become the Nationals’ regular center fielder. Brad Wilkerson would move to left field, and the Ryan Church/Marlon Byrd tandem would be bumped to the bench. Byrd also could become trade bait as Bowden looks for a pitcher before the July 31 trade deadline.

The Rockies have insisted all along that Day be included in any trade for Wilson, and the Nationals have been more than willing to comply. Day has pitched well in two rehab starts with Class AA Harrisburg and has recovered fully from a broken right forearm, but he doesn’t figure in Washington’s plans for the rest of the season.