Washington Nationals: Reviewing The Team’s Deadline Moves
Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo shocked the world when he decided to have a firesale. This had never been the team’s MO, but it was a needed change. Gone are Max Scherzer, Trea Turner, Kyle Schwarber, Daniel Hudson, Brad Hand, Yan Gomes, Josh Harrison, and Jon Lester. In are a plethora of prospects highlighted by Keibert Ruiz and Josiah Gray, the number 16 and 59 prospects in baseball per Baseball America.
The Washington Nationals were one of the busiest teams at this year’s trade deadline. But how did they make out?
Brad Hand to Toronto
The trade that started things off saw Brad Hand shipped out to the Blue Jays. The Nationals closer had struggled at times, but his 21 saves still have him tied for eighth-most in the majors. In 42.2 innings with the Nats, Hand went 5-5, with a 3.59 ERA, 42 strikeouts, and a 4.33 FIP.
Washington received Riley Adams, a 25-year-old catching prospect who is currently at AAA. In 35 games this season, he is hitting .239, with seven homers, 17 RBIs, and an OPS of .858. He also made his MLB debut this season, hitting .101, with an OPS of .345.
Max Scherzer and Trea Turner To LA
The biggest trade in recent memory occurred with the Nationals ace Max Scherzer and superstar Trea Turner heading to LA. In return, Washington received Keibert Ruiz, Josiah Gray, Gerardo Carillo, and Donovan Casey.
Keibert and Josiah are MLB-ready and will be building pieces for the club moving forward. Earlier we went over the Nationals return stating,
"“In 52 games this year at Triple-A, Ruiz is hitting .311, with 16 homers, 45 RBIs, and an OPS of 1.012. In years past, the Dodgers have made Ruiz off-limits in trade talks, but being blocked by Will Smith and with the Nationals offering two superstars it was worth the cost.Josiah Gray will immediately slot into the Nationals rotation and already made his MLB this season with the Dodgers. In two appearances, he is 0-0, with a 6.75 ERA, and 13 strikeouts. But in 15.2 innings this year at Triple-A, he was 1-1, with a 2.87 ERA, and 22 strikeouts.Carillo has a live arm and could slot into the back of the bullpen. He has a 4.25 ERA and 70 strikeouts in 59.1 innings at Double-A. Casey is hitting .296, with a .824 OPS and 102 strikeouts at Double-A. His swing and miss could be a problem. Both have potential, but are still a few years away from contributing.”"
This trade netted Washington its biggest return and signals that the team is looking toward the future.
Kyle Schwarber to Boston
Despite being on the IL, the Nationals found a new home for their slugger. Before landing on the IL, Schwarber was having the greatest stretch of his career, which saw him hit 16 homers in the month of June. The craziest part is all 16 homers occurred during a three-week stretch. In 72 games with the Nats, Schwarber hit .253, with 25 homers, 53 RBIs, and an OPS of .910.
Boston sent Aldo Ramirez in return, a 20-year-old right-handed pitcher who is currently sidelined with an injury. In eight starts this year at Single-A, Ramirez is 1-1, with a 2.03 ERA, and 32 strikeouts compared to only eight walks. He is still young, but Ramirez has an impressive feel for his pitches.
Daniel Hudson to San Diego
After missing out on Scherzer, the Padres worked out a deal for World Series hero Daniel Hudson. Hudson will always be remembered in D.C. for recording the last out of the 2019 Fall Classic. In two and a half seasons with the Nats, he went 10-3, with a 2.99 ERA, 99 strikeouts, and a 3.81 FIP. Most importantly, he helped bolster the Nationals rotation in 2019.
San Diego shipped out Mason Thompson and Jordy Barley. MLB Trade Rumors recently broke down the two prospects stating,
"“In order to add Hudson for the stretch run, San Diego parts with Thompson, a 2016 third-round draftee. The righty has made his first four big league appearances this season but spent the bulk of the year with Triple-A El Paso. A pure reliever, Thompson has tossed 26 2/3 innings over 23 appearances, working to a 5.74 ERA with slightly lower than average strikeout and walk rates (21.8% and 7.3%, respectively) in that hitter-friendly environment. He’s already on the 40-man roster and has a pair of minor league option years remaining beyond the current season.”“Barley has been in the Padres organization since signing as a member of San Diego’s massive 2016-17 international class. At one point, the speedster was a fairly well-regarded prospect, but he’s struggled to hit in the low minors. Barley has posted higher than average strikeout rates throughout his professional career, and that’s continued this season. The 21-year-old is hitting .240/.333/.388 with a 29.4% strikeout percentage in Low-A. Entering the season, Eric Longenhagen of FanGraphs slotted Barley as the #28 talent in the Padres system.”"
Overall, this was a fantastic return for Hudson, who is only a rental.
Josh Harrison and Yan Gomes to Oakland
After pulling off four trades on Friday, Mike Rizzo wasn’t done. This afternoon he was able to find a new home for veterans Josh Harrison and Yan Gomes. Outside of Trea Turner and Juan Soto, Harrison and Gomes had been the Nat’s most productive hitters this season.
Washington received Drew Millas, Richard Guasch, and Seth Shuman. All three are currently at High-A. Millas is the most intriguing of the three. In 59 games this year, he is hitting .255, with 3 homers, 28 RBIs, and an OPS of .731. His plate discipline is impressive, as he has more walks (41) than strikeouts (39). Guasch and Shuman are both right-handed pitchers who still need some polishing.
Jon Lester to St. Louis
Jon Lester is at the end of his career and quite frankly has been terrible for the Nats. In 16 starts, the veteran is 3-5, with a 5.02 ERA, 51 strikeouts, and a 5.41 FIP. Mike Rizzo was able to work his magic and received a player in return.
Enter Lane Thomas. Thomas is a 25-year-old outfielder who has struggled over the past two seasons with the Cardinals. In 48 at-bats this season, he is hitting .104, with one RBI, and an OPS of .384.