As the losses pile up and the further down the division the Washington Nationals fall, I kind of get the feeling we are headed for a 2018 trade deadline all over again.
Another loss. Another game gone by the wayside. Another team ahead of them in the standings. The Washington Nationals season is quickly slipping away before their eyes.
As the trading deadline approaches, now less than a week away, word on the street is the Nats will be buyers and not sellers. General Manager Mike Rizzo went on record with Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post to say:
"We’re here to win the World Series this year, and that never changes in my mind or in [manager Dave Martinez’s] mind or the owner’s mind,” Rizzo said. “We’re here to win, and we’re very, very competitive. If we see a place to improve ourselves in a deal that makes sense for us, we’re never afraid to pull the trigger."
Though as the injuries pile up alongside the losses, I am starting to get the feeling this year’s trade deadline will resemble the one in 2018.
Much like this year, two years ago Rizzo went public with something similar to, we’ll evaluate potential upgrades, we are always looking to improve the team, we are focused on winning the World Series.
With Bryce Harper nearing free agency, the majority of rumors revolved around whether he’d be shopped or not. Even though the Nationals continued to lose games, they stood strong about not giving up on the season.
As the trade deadline came and passed with the Washington Nationals sitting at a .500 record, the team held onto Harper, didn’t acquire any additional pieces, and didn’t have a fire sale. Brandon Kintzler was traded, but that was because the Nationals brass thought he was an anonymous source, not because they were giving up on the season.
Five days later Shawn Kelley was traded. Not because the Nationals were giving up, rather “if you aren’t with us, you’re against us”. The tantrum Kelley threw for having to pitch in a blowout win a few days prior, bought him a ticket out of town.
Mid-way through August, while still sitting on a .500 record, the Nationals saw the reality everyone else had already seen. Daniel Murphy was traded for some guy no one ever heard of (and is no longer in the organization), and Matt Adams was allowed to go to the St. Louis Cardinals on a waiver claim.
A slow and painful process where the Nationals refused to acknowledge they were out of the playoff race at the deadline, holding on to a glimmer of hope the season would turn around.
It never did.
This season has the same feel, without the luxury of the second trade deadline. The non-waiver trade deadline, which is August 31st this year, is all they have to move players.
Only players on 60-man rosters can be traded, limiting the amount of prospects who can change teams. As the Nationals limp their way through the season, an eerie feeling abounds. This deadline will be like that of 2018.