The signings also come against the backdrop of the Nationals' most significant offseason move, the trade with Texas for four-time all-star Alfonso Soriano. Though Soriano could provide an offensive force unlike any the Nationals had last season, he met the news that he would likely have to move from second base to the outfield with outright disdain, and has not retreated from those remarks. Soriano's defiance triggered calls from several interested teams who wondered if the Nationals might be willing to trade Soriano, including Boston, according to a source familiar with the discussions. Nationals front-office executives, however, for now appear unwilling to part with Soriano unless they are bowled over with an offer that includes either a front-line starting pitcher, such as the Red Sox' Josh Beckett, or several younger, front-line pitching prospects. One source familiar with Washington's discussions over the last several weeks said, "There's nothing close enough to take seriously right now," but thought the Nationals would remain open to talks about trades for pitching.