The Nationals do indeed “want in” on the budding Aroldis Chapman sweepstakes according to Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post (via Twitter). We’ve heard of this connection previously — assuming, of course, that the Yankees finally commit to a sale.
But while Washington’s interest is real, it doesn’t seem that the club is prepared to give up its best young talent to get a deal done. According to Svrluga, the Nats are unwilling to deal away top prospects Lucas Giolito, Trea Turner, Victor Robles, or Reynaldo Lopez for the opportunity to rent Chapman.
Those are exactly the types of players that the Yankees are surely hoping to get back in a deal for a pitcher who could change the entire post-season picture. Giolito and Turner are considered among the best prospects in the game, and both have appeared in the majors already. Robles, too has attained that status with his sky-high ceiling, though he’s still a few years away.
If anything, it seems like Lopez could be a player the Nats might be willing to give up, as he’s not quite as highly valued by prospect hounds amid questions whether he can stick in the rotation. Several observers have noted him as a possible piece that could change hands in a deal for Chapman, Andrew Miller, or another major trade acquisition. But he too was recently deemed ready for his first MLB action and remains a near-term option in D.C., so it seems there’s not a lot of inclination to give him up either.
Washington expects there to be plenty of competition for Chapman, per the report. And that’s no surprise, as he’s a truly elite player who is a pure rental asset. We’ve mentioned before that it could be a game of chicken on the high-powered southpaw, with the Yankees and every team with interest looking to see who’ll blink first, and it looks as if the Nats are sending a message that it won’t be them.
That’s not to say that the D.C. farm is otherwise devoid of talent. Righty Erick Fedde is perhaps the next-best pre-MLB player in the Nats system, and there are some other intriguing chips. It’s also possible to imagine the Nationals parting with Michael Taylor and one of several controllable relievers if the right scenario emerges, so there’s some possibility for creative packages that don’t include the blue chip prospects. We’ll find out whether that’s enough to entice the Yanks.