Washington Nationals: 5 More Pitching Targets

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Five More Pitching Options for Washington Nationals

Nats
Howard Smith- USA TODAY Sports

As the All-Star Game approaches, the Washington Nationals seem to be piecing their season back together. After a start that saw injuries, inconsistency and a frustrating offense, Washington sits four games back of the Atlanta Braves and could be poised to finally give them a run for the NL East. With triumphant returns of Wilson Ramos and Bryce Harper, Washington could be heating up at the perfect time, and having the band back together could be the linchpin to their season.

Another linchpin to their season has been their pitching rotation. Jordan Zimmermann has been leading the way, and is also on his way to Flushing for the 2013 All-Star Game. After the All-Star Game, all attention will turn to the non-waiver trade deadline. We saw some trades made in August in 2012 mostly because of the second wild card team added, and most teams are willing to ride things out a little deeper into the season before breaking things down.

With the aforementioned second wild card, teams could also become buyers and sellers deeper into the season, and we could even see the trade deadline pushed back to the first or second week of August, which, in my opinion, must be done. With that said, with Dan Haren going tonight, Washington sits in a very interesting position: do they make a deal for a pitcher, or do they dip into their farm system and plug in a Taylor Jordan? We know Mike Rizzo's trade MO is to deal for players that can help this year and beyond, which is why he could just keep a young guy like Jordan in the big leagues. Assuming Washington does not go down that route, here are five more pitchers Washington could pursue.

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Cliff Lee- Philadelphia Phillies

Lee
Charles LeClaire- USA TODAY Sports

Lee is owed a lot over the next couple years, but is locked in for the next few years. He brings a veteran presence to a team not so much lacking it, but could use his consistency in their rotation. Plugging him in at the back end could make Washington's road to the NL East title, and World Series, much easier.

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Jason Vargas- Los Angeles Angels

Vargas
Gary A. Vasquez- USA TODAY Sports

Vargas is currently on the DL after having surgery to remove a blood clot from his armpit, and probably will not be back in time to improve his value, so August may be a more viable time for Vargas to be dealt if he is at all. He will be a free agent after 2014, so he could conceivably be a National for the next one and a half years. All in all, Vargas is a solid, proven option for Washington.

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Jake Peavy- Chicago White Sox

Peavy
Dennis Wierzbicki- USA TODAY Sports

Peavy signed a two-year contract in the offseason with Chicago, and could be dealt somewhere else after their disappointing start. Peavy won the Cy Young award in 2007 with San Diego, so he has shown he is able to pitch in both leagues. Combine that with his contract status, Peavy could be a very viable option for Washington, though he will not come cheap.

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Hisashi Iwakuma- Seattle Mariners

Iwakuma
Kevin Jairaj- USA TODAY Sports

Iwakuma is probably the second-best Japanese pitcher behind Yu Darvish in the majors, and has pitched in a pretty solid hitting division, and in a league with the DH. Putting Iwakuma in the National League could be unfair, and Seattle, who expects to be competitive at some point soon, probably does not want to just give him away. He would be a home run is Rizzo is able to get him, but again, he will not come cheap.

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Kevin Correia- Minnesota Twins

Correia
Jesse Johnson- USA TODAY Sports

Correia is probably the cheapest guy on this list to trade for prospect-wise. He is a veteran who has proven his worth in both leagues, and could make a triumphant return to the National League. The groundwork is there between Terry Ryan and Rizzo, so it may also be the most conceivable option.

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