The Nationals “are still assessing what we have and the deadline,” GM Mike Rizzo told reporters (including the Washington Post’s Jesse Dougherty and MASNsports.com’s Byron Kerr) today about the club’s plans heading towards August 31. But while the Nats may not have their shopping list quite ready, Rizzo made it clear that his club is planning to be buyers.
“We’re here to win the World Series this year, and that never changes in my mind or in [manager Dave Martinez’s] mind or the owner’s mind,” Rizzo said. “We’re here to win, and we’re very, very competitive. If we see a place to improve ourselves in a deal that makes sense for us, we’re never afraid to pull the trigger.”
Today’s 9-3 victory over the Marlins improved the Nationals’ record to a modest 11-14, though like virtually every team in baseball, Washington is still in the playoff race in this shortened season. Rizzo doesn’t “think it’s anywhere near too late to make adjustments, but we have to play better,” recalling how the 2019 Nationals rebounded after a 19-31 start to the season.
“I have seen flashes of brilliance and mediocrity,” Rizzo said about this year’s Nats. “We have got to be more consistent….You got to play clean baseball, championship caliber baseball. We went through this last year and cleaned it up rather quickly after a slow start. We have to do the same thing now.”
Rizzo is no stranger to memorable trade deadline swaps, perhaps most notably the acquisition of Daniel Hudson at the 2019 deadline given Hudson’s key role in Washington’s 2019 World Series title. While the Nats’ bullpen was a glaring flaw last season, however, this year’s team doesn’t necessarily have such an obvious weak point, apart from maybe a starting rotation that Rizzo is bullish towards.
With Stephen Strasburg done for the season, Austin Voth and Erick Fedde have both played larger roles in the starting five, plus prospect Wil Crowe also recently made his Major League debut. The veteran trio of Max Scherzer, Patrick Corbin, and Anibal Sanchez have also had their ups and downs, with Sanchez in particular struggling prior to a strong outing in today’s 9-3 victory over the Nationals.
“We get calls about our starting pitching all the time and we feel very, very fortunate that we have that type of depth of young arms that can contribute at the big league level,” Rizzo said. “Very excited about the prospects of these young kids coming up. You look at the Voths and the Feddes, the way they performed last year in a world championship season and helped us the ship afloat and pitch extremely well in a pennant race. You run guys out there like a Wil Crowe and Seth Romero, who have shown their stuff plays in the big leagues. That is very positive news for us moving forward.”
If a new starter perhaps isn’t likely, acquiring more relief help would certainly seem like more of a possibility, and Dougherty also believes “a low-cost veteran bat would help.” The likes of Adam Eaton and Eric Thames have struggled at the plate this year, and Starlin Castro will likely miss the rest of the regular season due to wrist surgery. On the plus side, Juan Soto and Trea Turner have been tearing the cover off the ball, rookie Luis Garcia has filled in nicely for Castro at second base, and Asdrubal Cabrera has hit well to pick up the slack at the corner infield spots from Thames and Carter Kieboom.
His head looks like a russet potato
Who’s head are you talking about?
Mike Rizzo’s, I’m sure.
Too much time spent in the sun perhaps.
I see the nationals sticking it out. With the lack of sellers probably means teams will overpay, hoping to get the advantage in the playoffs. Good news for the Mariners I hope.
Nats are in the race for sure. Could contend but a lot of ifs. Mainly they need 3 starters to get hot.
Not many sellers but some of them have a lot to sell. At least should. Nobody on pirates should be untouchable. Royals have a lot of players. Will see some contenders trading with contenders as well. I don’t see many big impact bats being dealt. Plenty of pitching though for everyone, just not ace pitching. 3 and 4 starters and 6 and 7 inning relievers.
And Harrison has a an upgrade at 3 positions defensively & batting .273 now healthy !
We need a big bat to go with Soto imo the lack of HR’s is killing this team. I think the pitching will figure it out, Sanchez has looked much better his last two outings. Not sure if Josh Bell is on the block but he is a big bat and fills an extreme position of need at 1B which we don’t have anyone in our minor league system coming up.
Josh Bell should be available. Won’t be cheap. He can’t play 1B, the pirates just put him there anyways. The big bat had yet to be seen. It could be due though. It’s like the Pennsylvania ground hog. It comes out for a little bit, sees it shawdow and is gone for a few months.
DM_Nats — agree. Thames has not filled that void, although his bat has picked up lately. Another bat would also let Kendrick stick as a DH and give him more rest days until the playoffs. Thought Martinez did a great job last regular season keeping Kendrick relatively fresh for the Oct run. Zimm is injury prone and he’s up there in age, but part time he could’ve given them 30+ games. Not complaining about the opt out, he did the right thing.
11-14, its over
Rich Hill’s Elbow
Without Strasburg I find it hard to believe the Nats can be even close to as successful in the postseason as they were last season. If I were Rizzo I’d like to remain competitive too, but ultimately trading vets like Eaton, Gomes, Kendrick, and Doolittle is probably what’s best for the organization and could very well have them back as serious contenders as soon as next season depending on who’s acquired.
I wouldn’t mess with team chemistry. Kendrick especially would seem like a unpopular trade. They were hot last year and had a lot of breaks. Unlikely it happens again. But gotta go for it. Wouldn’t go all in, stand pat, take advantage of any deals that emerge that make sense. How it should always be. Anybody is available for a price, and will aquire anybody that is a good deal.
If it’s got a good fetch, I’d trade those veterans too. Otherwise I’m with Lovinmlb, don’t upset team chemistry.
Suzuki not Gomes. Suzuki’s contract ends this year. Gomes is signed through 2021. Nats don’t really have another catcher ready for next season if they move Gomes.
They are a 1/2 GB the final playoff seed. and the TD is in a week. Buyers.
On the surface, they seem to need too much to make a significant run this year. Sure, they could win a first round playoff matchup in a best of 3 series with Scherzer and Corbin but any longer and this pitching staff would get exposed badly by any good team.
“The veteran trio of Max Scherzer, Patrick Corbin, and Anibal Sanchez have also had their ups and downs, with Sanchez in particular struggling prior to a strong outing in today’s 9-3 victory over the Nationals.”
Man, I know the Marlins have a lot of Sanchez’s but this one isn’t on their team and the Marlins didn’t win… needs the edit button!