Washington Nationals were buyers in 2005, traded for Preston Wilson

Another trade deadline has come and gone and now that the dust has settled we can look over the deals and assess. For the first time in a long time, the Washington Nationals were sellers at the deadline.

And this year we are licking our wounds. Gone are Max Scherzer and Trea Turner. The Nationals capitalized on the value of Daniel Hudson, and took what they could get for the injured Kyle Schwarber. Thankfully someone took Brad Hand, removing his name from the Nationals ledger. Yan Gomes and Josh Harrison were also dealt. Four of which were key parts to the 2019 World Series team, and it’s hard to see them go. The other three were allegedly pieces to a 2021 run which never gained traction.

The dark clouds have moved in and the rebuilding has begun. As a way to help us move past this time in our Nationals life, we look back at the Inaugural Season, when the Nats were actually buyers at the deadline. Come with us as we take a stroll down memory lane, as we look back at the team’s first trading deadline.

Leading the division at the All-Star break, the Nationals acquired outfielder Preston Wilson in a trade with the Colorado Rockies.

They may have finished in last place to end the 2005 season (beginning a run which saw them in the cellar five of the next six seasons), but the Nationals were 16 games over .500 and leading the division by 2.5 games in mid-July. Rather than sitting idly by as other teams got better, the Nationals made their first major in-season trade.

Welcome, Preston Wilson.

Just two years prior, Wilson was an All-Star in Colorado and led the league with 141 RBIs. He was a power hitter, who was having a down season in the Mile High City. The Nationals parted with two players who were already ML ready (not prospects) and took on Wilson’s remaining salary (rental player).

The Nationals would end the year with the fourth best team ERA in the National League, and a league worst 117 home runs. The hope was Wilson would come in and rake, with power. They hoped.

From the moment Wilson stepped on the field, the Nationals began to lose games. Their lead in the division evaporated, their days playing above .500 baseball dwindled.

Wilson would end the year with a batting average of .261 (he was a .264 career hitter). His ten home runs were nice, though not the power source the Nats had hoped for. The dog days of summer set in and the young team couldn’t keep pace with the more established teams.

After the season ended, Preston Wilson left via free agency and the Nationals began their cost cutting, rebuild. For most, though, the fact the Nationals were buyers in their first year, was quite an accomplishment.