Before the Diamondbacks included Ender Inciarte in the Shelby Miller trade, they strongly considered a deal that would have sent Inciarte to the Nationals for left-hander Gio Gonzalez, according to major-league sources.

Would the D-backs have been better off making that move rather than acquiring Miller from the Braves for Inciarte, right-hander Aaron Blair and last year's No. 1 overall draft pick, shortstop Dansby Swanson? That's one question to consider, and here's another:

Could the Nationals trade Gonzalez for another center-field type, then sign free-agent left-hander Wei-Yin Chen?

The Nats are discussing such a scenario, sources say. Their frequent business partner, agent Scott Boras, represents both pitchers.

Gonzalez, 30, averaged only about 5 2/3 innings per start last season, but over the past six years his park- and league-adjusted ERA ranks 10th in the majors (minimum, 1,000 innings). At the right acquisition cost, he would be more attractive to teams than free-agent right-handers Ian Kennedy and Yovani Gallardo, both of whom are attached to draft picks.

The addition of a left-handed hitting outfielder would give the Nats an alternative to the right-handed hitting Michael Taylor in center and Jayson Werth in left. Inciarte, however, is probably no longer an option, at least not for Gonzalez. The Braves are rebuilding, and Gonzalez is guaranteed $12 million in 2016 with a $12 million club option for '17 and $12 million club or vesting option for '18.

Chen, who actually is two months older than Gonzalez, might not be a dramatic upgrade as his replacement. But the Nats likely are entering their final season with righty Stephen Strasburg, who looms as the prize of next winter's weak free-agent pitching class. They could sign Chen as a long-term piece to go with righty Max Scherzer, and still would control Tanner Roark along with younger righties such as Joe Ross, A.J. Cole and Lucas Giolito beyond '16.