1. RHP Ken Giles—-Toronto Blue Jays
The first possible trade target is current Toronto Blue Jays’ closer, Ken Giles. The 28-year-old right-hander has been one of the best closers in all of baseball this season, recording 11 saves with just a 1.13 E.R.A. The Blue Jays, entering Wednesday, sit with a record of 22-38, nine games out of just the American League Wild Card race. It is pretty clear they are going to be a team looking to sell at the deadline, and Giles will be their top asset to deal.
Giles was dealt to Toronto by the Houston Astros on the trade deadline in 2018, and the change of scenery seemed to benefit him. Although his earned run average was not exactly stellar, Giles pitched much better with Toronto down the stretch and ended up striking out 22 batters in 19 innings. Missing bats is what Giles does best, and Washington could desperately use another hard-throwing bullpen arm who has the ability to strike any hitter out.
In 24 innings this season Giles has struck out 40 batters. That is an average of 15 strikeouts per nine innings which would be a historical number he keeps up the pace. The right-hander also has only walked seven batters in those 24 innings and has an All-Star level 1.042 WHIP on the season.
It figures Giles will be headed to Cleveland to make his first All-Star team this July, so if Washington desires to acquire him they likely will have to pay a fairly steep price. Giles has one more year of team control after 2019 and will become a free agent at the end of the 2020 season. Despite only having on 1.5 years of control left, the demand for Giles at the deadline will be high.
Acquiring the likely All-Star relief arm would be a chips to the middle of the table, all in a kind of move for the Nationals. They would have to outbid teams like the Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves, and Los Angeles Dodgers, so Giles would almost certainly cost Washington one of their top five prospects.