Though they are only six games behind the Atlanta Braves, their best baseball is probably ahead of them, and many consider the Braves to be a much more flawed team than they have let on thus far. Many consider Atlanta to be overachieving while Washington has underachieved for the most part in the first half of the season.
Washington’s struggles have been well documented, from multiple pitching injuries and inconsistencies, such as Dan Haren‘s dismal performance thus far along with a slightly streaky bullpen. The bigger issues have been Washington’s offense, both in its starting lineup and bench, which have both been very hot and cold as the season has gone on, coming up small in big situations.
GM Mike Rizzo has already addressed the inconsistent bench, demoting Tyler Moore and acquiring Scott Hairston via trade with the Chicago Cubs for a minor league pitcher, giving them some right-handed pop off the bench who destroys left-handed pitching. Of course, Washington still has Roger Bernadina on the bench, so could still make a deal to fortify their bench.
Washington’s season to date brings to light an interesting dilemma they have, which is if they will be forced to make a big deadline deal. Most of Washington’s position players are locked in for years, if not all of them. However, a team can never have enough pitching, and perhaps demoting some of their younger players for extra seasoning. Usually, bench players are veterans who know their roles, not younger players who need playing time to develop.
Washington does have good organizational depth, but at some point they’re going to have to dip into it to acquire some talent to help them now. Washington may have no choice but to make a deal, especially if they do not pick things up in the second half as many expect. Bringing in someone like a Matt Garza or Kyle Lohse or Yovani Gallardo should not be out of the question this season because, with the way the first half went, the second half could get very bad, very fast.