What will the Nationals do at the trade deadline?
From less immediate to much more immediate, the Nationals have another large decision to make when it comes to this year's trade deadline which is in 12 days on August 1st. In the past couple of seasons, the Nationals have been the trade deadline catalyst for all of baseball with major firesales that have reshaped not only their own roster but the rosters of contenders. Will they have another firesale this season?
The biggest difference between this season and the previous two seasons is the lack of a superstar trade piece like Max Scherzer, Trea Turner or Juan Soto. However, they do have some pieces that they could flip in order to get something in return for players who either won't be around next season or when the next competitive Nationals' team arrives in a couple of years.
Players like Jeimer Candelario, Lane Thomas and even Ildemaro Vargas could be attractive bats to contenders while relievers like Carl Edwards Jr., Hunter Harvey and Kyle Finnegan might be on teams' radars to shore up their bullpen. Thomas is probably the least likely to be traded as he has multiple years left on his deal and the Nationals likely value him higher than other team's would due to his statistical outlier of a season and bit of luck to his success, with an unsustainable .390 BABIP. Edwards Jr. and Harvey also present issues as they are both currently on the injured list. It is not impossible to move them, as the Nationals traded Kyle Schwarber while he was on the injured list just a couple of years ago, but it does minimize the potential return.
Candelario is the most likely to get traded as he is on an expiring contract and having a career season both offensively and defensively. GM Mike Rizzo needs to capitalize on having one of the most desirable bats on the trade market and flip Candelario for more controllable assets. But will he go all in and trade everything that is not nailed to the floor, like he has in past years to much success, or will he stop at the expiring deals?