Washington Nationals: Loss in Miami sets up key trade deadline decision
Seemingly needing at least a series win with the trade deadline Tuesday, the Washington Nationals dropped the finale 5-0. Now a big decision is looming.
After winning the first two games of their weekend series, the Washington Nationals looked to chip away at the deficit they face in the National League East. But then they dropped the final two games, and now a huge decision looms. Do they buy or sell at the trade deadline?
Logic dictates that they should look to deal some of their expiring free agents. It’s going to be a long way back, so for those they have no intention of keeping, they should get what they can for them.
This is especially true for the bullpen pieces. Teams can never have enough relief pitchers, and the Nationals have three with expiring contracts: Shawn Kelley, Kelvin Herrera, and Ryan Madson.
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None of those would be likely to draw a huge prospect haul, but the Nats could at least pick up a few useful mid/lower tier prospects for their services.
There’s also the possibility of Gio Gonzalez, Matt Adams and Daniel Murphy drawing some interest. But for those guys, it may depend on the package, as there is a chance all three could return, so whatever price the Nats set would need to be met.
Bryce still finding ways to contribute
In case you hadn’t heard, somehow, Bryce Harper is not having his best season with the Nationals. The batting average is at an unsightly .220, but some of the more advanced statistics have him at least at league average, if not better.
He had his second straight 1 for 2 game, including two walks on Sunday. He’s back atop the NL in walks, 15th in OBP and 23rd in OPS. So if you subscribe to the Billy Beane “a walk is as good as a hit” theory, he’s been just fine.
There’s a lot of trade speculation around, and rightfully so with Harper being one the biggest stars in the game. It would take something special to get the Nats to trade their star outfielder away, but you can’t rule it out in crazy trade season.
The bullpen continues to impress in July
With the struggles of the offense and the rotation, the bullpen has been the unit to really step up. In July, the bullpen has the second lowest ERA in baseball with a 2.72 mark.
Matt Grace and Brandon Kintzler have been the standout arms in that span. They’ve pitched 15 and 13.1 innings respectively, giving up just three runs apiece.
With the possible aforementioned trades of other relievers, the likes of Grace and Kintzler will need to keep up their consistency.
The Washington Nationals next game will come on Tuesday at 7 pm Eastern Time, three hours after the trade deadline. It will be interesting to see which 25 men are available for that game.