Washington Nationals: Our staff’s midseason review
By Brian Foley
Will Mike Rizzo buy, sell, or hold at the deadline?
Picks: Buy (6 votes), Hold (3 votes)
The Washington Nationals’ underperformance thus far has put Rizzo in a bind: to buy, hold, or sell off pieces, should the Nats slip further down the standings.
Let’s put a pin in selling for now. The riskiest time to buy at the deadline is as a fringe contender, as GMs move valuable assets to boost teams that will either miss the playoffs or will struggle to do any damage once they get there.
Now, the Nats aren’t a typical fringe playoff team. The roster is getting healthier by the day, but Rizzo can’t necessarily sit around while his vets reacclimate themselves on the field. One bad week and the Nationals will likely push themselves out of the playoff race altogether.
Most of the District on Deck staff is advocating for the Nats to act as “tentative buyers.” Rizzo should look to acquire a back-end starter or a cheap catcher to paper over some roster flaws, and stay away from the splashy names who have additional years of control.
The Nats have cut deep into their farm system during the last few seasons, so there is no reason to go for broke with a big star when the best way for the Nats to contend is to simply have the current players perform more consistently.
Now if the Nats do totally tank out of the gates to start the second half, selling becomes a viable option. Washington should not go as far as moving Harper, but kicking the tires on a deal involving Murphy, Wieters, or any other pending free agents would make sense.