One year ago at this time, the Nationals found themselves 38-27 — good for a three-game lead in the highly competitive NL East. This season, they're 35-36 and sit seven games out of first, despite high expectations following last year's near-NLCS berth. MLB.com's Bill Ladson writes that this puts them in a different position than last year as non-waiver trade deadline approaches. While the team was content to simply make an August trade for Kurt Suzuki last season, they could be players in 2013.
Ladson spoke with one source who said the team may need to pursue some right-handed bench power after Tyler Moore was unable to follow up on his strong 2012 campaign. Moore hit .263/.327/.513 with 10 homers in just 171 plate appearances last season, but he mustered just a .480 OPS with two homers in 102 trips to the plate this season.
Ladson also writes that the Nationals are expected to give Dan Haren every chance to rediscover himself on the mound. His source doesn't anticipate the Nationals to explore trades for starters at this point. Haren, who was signed to a one-year deal worth $13MM this offseason, has pitched to a 5.72 ERA in 78 2/3 innings and leads the NL with 18 homers allowed.