What’s the old saying? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. For the Washington Nationals, staying quiet as the trade deadline looms may be their best course of action.
While they haven’t been entirely quiet when it comes to trades, the team traded for Scott Hairston earlier this month. There have not been very many rumors swirling about as to what the team might do. Some Nationals writers have suggested that the team is, or should be, looking into acquiring Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Yovani Gallardo or Houston Astros pitcher Bud Norris.
Personally, I feel the Nationals should stay put and work with what they got unless pitcher Ross Detwiler‘s condition forces him to miss substantial time. His replacement, Taylor Jordan, is on an innings limit as he returns from Tommy Johns surgery and won’t be available for the entire season and especially not if the Nationals make the playoffs.
Despite his struggles this season, the Nationals have remained confident in starting pitcher Dan Haren. They’ve given him chances to rest and regain his composure and they still stand by the pitcher they are paying $13 million for this season. In place of Haren, Ross Ohlendorf has seen some playing time and that could possibly be a person the Nationals turn to if they pull the plug on Haren or Detwiler.
Outside of their four and five pitchers, the Nationals don’t have very many other needs. The bullpen has struggled at times, but hopefully the return of reliever Ryan Mattheus in the coming month will help that. The bench is underperforming, but the Nationals are hoping that Scott Hairston will be able to remedy that problem. When it comes to Chad Tracy and the rest of the bench players, general manager Mike Rizzo and manager Davey Johnson could be looking back on past performances and believe that they will pull out of their slumps and contribute much like they did last year.
When it comes to the rest of the team, the starting lineup, they finally have a full squad back in place. Throughout the entire first half of the season, there was always at least one key player missing. Now, all the pieces are back together. At the end of the first half the season when Wilson Ramos returned and completed the lineup, the team went on an offensive tear in which they were the highest scoring team in the MLB over the course of one week.
Like most things, there’s always a “but”. If Dan Haren continues to struggle, then the Nationals would probably be wise to shopping around and testing the trade waters for pitchers. The same goes for Ross Detwiler. If his back doesn’t heal up like they hope and continues to bug him, trying to acquire another starting pitcher would be a good option. Whether they decide to go after Gallardo or Norris, they really can’t go wrong with either one.
It’s going to be an interesting week-and-half before the July 31 trade deadline. It should be interesting to see if any notable players around the MLB change zip codes between now and then. In Washington D.C., all is quiet on that front … for the time being.