Washington Nationals: 5 potential mid-season trade targets

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J.A. Happ

The Nats have one of the best starting rotations in the league, but the fifth spot is currently up for grabs. With Joe Ross set to potentially miss the entire season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, the spot will likely go to A.J. Cole, Edwin Jackson, or Erick Fedde.

Cole, Jackson, or Fedde would work fine for the first half of the season, since the Nats are the overwhelming favorite to win the division, but they will likely elect to trade for a starter at the deadline.

Although there will be several starters available, J.A. Happ should be one of their best options. Despite being 35 years old, the left-hander has managed to remain effective. His 3.53 ERA ranked tenth in the American League in 2017, and he was a bright spot on an otherwise lackluster Blue Jays team.

Happ is entering his final season under team control, which means the Blue Jays could look to move him at the deadline. Although they currently believe they can contend, that is not likely to be the case, due to their aging core and elite competition in the AL East.

If Happ is made available at the trade deadline, he could be a great fit with the Nats. He would give the Nats five reliable starting pitchers, completing their postseason rotation. He could also serve as a mentor for the Nats’ younger pitchers, such as Fedde and Cole.

Finally, Happ could prove to be an enormous asset in the postseason. He has appeared in ten postseason games throughout his career, pitching to a 3.72 ERA. For a team who has yet to advance past the National League Division Series, this postseason experience would be a welcome addition.

If Happ proves that he is still effective in the first half, he should garner plenty of interest at the trade deadline. The Nats figure to be among his potential suitors, and they should do what they can to bring him to DC.

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