The offseason is upon us, so that means plenty of rumors and speculation regarding free agents, roster cuts, and, of course, trades. Whether it be a salary dump, a big blockbuster deal, or something in between, every team is looking at the trade block to see what deals they can swing before spring training begins and the Nationals are no exception. The Nationals have many areas in need of an upgrade, so Mike Rizzo should be on the phones with any team willing to deal young and controllable players to address both the short-term and long-term future of the Nationals franchise and there are several players who would fit the bill.
1. Jonathan India, 2B, Cincinnati Reds
After a hot start to his career, it's looking more and more likely that Jonathan India will be dealt this offseason. A first round pick (5th overall) in 2018, India won the 2021 National League Rookie of the Year award, slashing .269/.376/.459 with 21 homers and a 122 wRC+ across 631 plate appearances. However, a sharp decline at the plate and terrible defensive metrics (-23 OAA) on top of the rise of young infielders like Elly De La Cruz, Matt McLain, and Spencer Steer have made India the odd man out in Cincy. A great buy-low candidate with three more seasons of control, the Nationals should be all over India. The Reds are in dire need of pitching and the Nationals have a couple of arms that have some upside like Jake Irvin and Jackson Rutledge that may be of interest. Luis Garcia has struggled in his time in the majors, so bringing in India for some competition or dealing Garcia for another piece may help solidify the 2B position in the long term.
2. Eloy Jimenez, LF/DH, Chicago White Sox
Once seen as a team with one of the brightest futures in MLB, the White Sox have come crashing down since 2021 and are once again entering a rebuild. Former Top 5 prospect Eloy Jimenez has sparked the interest of many clubs and new White Sox GM Chris Getz stated that no player is untouchable, so it seems to be a matter of when, not if, Jimenez is dealt. Jimenez has been plagued by injuries his whole career and is coming off a down year (105 wRC+ in 120 games), but he's shown that when he's healthy (and when the White Sox aren't acting as if he died), he is one of the most formidable hitters in the game. He is entering the final guaranteed year of his contract and has two years of team options for 2025 and 2026, so any team that picks him up has multiple outs if they want to cut ties. The White Sox need pretty much everything, so someone like Hassell or Rutledge would be good options to trade for Jimenez, who would be a much-needed source of power in the lineup for the Nationals.
3. Nick Pivetta, SP/RP, Boston Red Sox
Drafted in the 4th round of the 2013 MLB Draft by the Nationals, traded to the Phillies in return for Jonathan Papelbon in 2015, and now on the Red Sox, Nick Pivetta has become a reliable back-end starter and long reliever across the past couple of seasons, though not without some struggles. In the first half of 2023, Pivetta was terrible in the rotation, but a move to the bullpen seemed to help right the ship, as he returned to a starting role later in the season and put together some dominant starts. The starting pitching market seems to be expensive this year (that shouldn't be an issue for any decent owner, but alas...), so Pivetta is a nice budget option that could help fill a spot in the rotation, ideally the spot currently occupied by Trevor Williams. He offers innings (over 140 IP every year since 2021), had a 31.2% strikeout rate last season, and held opponents to just a .207 BAA. The Nationals are desperate for quality pitching and Pivetta would be an instant upgrade over Corbin or Williams and isn't getting too much attention in trade rumors, so he should be a target for the Nationals this offseason.