Washington Nationals: Possible August starting pitching targets

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 03: Stephen Strasburg
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 03: Stephen Strasburg /
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If the Washington Nationals feel they need another starting pitcher, here are five names to watch in August. Although none are perfect, they would fill a needed hole.

One of the deepest concerns for the Washington Nationals going forward is the health of their starting pitchers.

Unlike the injuries on offense, losing a Max Scherzer or Stephen Strasburg will put a serious dent in Washington’s championship aspirations. With Joe Ross out for the rest of this year, and most if not all of next, the Nats will be fine. The division lead is such they are in a position of nearly impossible to catch.

We knew from the start when you add Gio Gonzalez and Tanner Roark to the starting rotation that these are the four taking the mound in the playoffs. Losing Ross hurt, but Edwin Jackson has filled in well.

Yet, as Scherzer’s neck cramps and Strasburg’s pinched nerve remind us, depth is fragile. If another starter goes down, winning in October becomes harder.

Although the non-waiver trade deadline passed Monday, teams can still wheel and deal. The process turns complicated as other squads can block deal by placing a claim on any player, but trades often happen in August. With the Nats holding a big lead in the NL East, there is not any incentive for the Miami Marlins, New York Mets or Atlanta Braves to interfere. If Washington needs another pitcher, chances are they get their target.

The other difference between July and August is the quality of the players available. This is not the prospect hunt of July, but more of an aging player or decent contract getting filled to plug a gap.

Perhaps a new catcher is worth a look, but the biggest potential deal is for another starter. Here are five pitchers to watch for that Washington could trade for before September dawns.