The resurgent Nationals have won eight of their past 10 games and reached the .500 mark at 40-40. The Nats’ season looked to be completely unraveling in May, but they’re now within seven games of the division lead and just two and a half games back in the Wild Card chase. While the team’s recent play is encouraging, general manager Mike Rizzo isn’t making any proclamations about his team’s approach to the July 31 trade deadline. “We’ve got time to continue to evaluate before we have to make a decision, before the trade deadline, and we’ll do so,” Rizzo tells Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com. “…We’re going to see what the needs of the team are. We’re going to see where we’re at, what opportunities we have to make any kind of changes. This is our time to evaluate.” Rizzo also discusses the team’s bullpen, addressing the unsuccessful Trevor Rosenthal signing as well as the recent pickups of Fernando Rodney and Jonny Venters. The ’pen would clearly be a primary area of focus for Washington if the team does indeed operate as a buyer next month, though it sounds as if they’ll take some time before setting a course.
More from D.C….
- The Athletic’s Brittany Ghiroli takes a look at the logic behind the Nats buying and behind them turning into sellers next month (subscription required). Notably, she writes that even the Nats do sell there “remains almost no chance” that Max Scherzer would be traded. Scherzer would surely be in high demand, sizable contract notwithstanding, given his continued dominance at the front of the Nats’ rotation, but he’s also under control for another two seasons. The Nats will find themselves in a tough spot if they continue to hover around this mark; as Ghiroli points out, the team’s rotation and starting lineup are excellent, but the glaring lack of depth behind its stars would make an injury or two to a key player even more detrimental than it would to many other teams.
- Ryan Zimmerman is making good progress on a Double-A rehab assignment and could rejoin the Nationals as soon as this weekend, writes Christina De Nicola of MLB.com. Zimmerman, 34, has appeared in five games with Harrisburg and has played a full nine innings at first base on multiple occasions. He’s been limited to just 22 big league games this season thanks to a bout of plantar fasciitis, but his return would add another solid bat to the Washington lineup. Zimmerman didn’t hit much when on the active roster earlier this season, but he slashed .264/.337/.486 in 323 plate appearances last year and hit a combined .289/.350/.542 in 2017-18. The Nats have received strong production from Howie Kendrick and the red-hot Matt Adams of late, so Zimmerman may not step back into a full workload right away.