Biggest Name on the Washington Nationals' Trade-Deadline Radar

By Brian Skinnell
Evan Habeeb – USA TODAY Sports

While many other teams have plenty of trade rumors swirling about, the Washington Nationals have remained fairly quiet with the exception of speculation from reporters, bloggers and experts.

There is, however, one name that always surfaces when the trade deadline is discussed: Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Yovani Gallardo.

It’s no secret that the No. 4 and 5 pitchers, Ross Detwiler and Dan Haren, are the weakest links in the pitching rotation, especially Haren. Haren is 4-11 this season with a 5.79 ERA. Let’s just say that Nationals fans don’t rush to the box office on nights when Haren takes the mound.

Still, the Nationals themselves, primarily general manager Mike Rizzo, have been hush-hush about their plans for the trade deadline. Rizzo has been adamant in defending and supporting both Detwiler and Haren and has said that he’s waiting to see how Detwiler’s back heals up before moving forward.

But, if the Nationals want to trade for a starting pitcher, Gallardo is a good option.

Gallardo is in the midst of his worst season in terms of winning percentage and ERA. The 27-year-old right-hander is 8-8 with a 4.58 ERA. He’s struck out 96 batters while walking 45.

However, there is potential for Gallardo. In 2011 and 2012, he won 17 games and 16 games, respectively. Over the course of that two-year span, he held a 3.59 ERA and struck out 411 batters. His 17 wins in 2011 made him a finalist for the Cy Young award.

While Gallardo has struggled when compared to his past, he’s still doing better than Haren. The only problem with trading for a pitcher to replace Haren, is that the Nationals would still owe Haren $13 million this year.

So, they may not trade to acquire Gallardo to replace Haren. If Rizzo doesn’t feel comfortable with the state of Detwiler’s back, which has kept him out since July 3, they could shut down Detwiler to let him heal his back and trade for Gallardo.

If they do trade for Gallardo to replace an injured Detwiler, that would not bode well for Haren to get a new deal in 2014, if that was ever a question. Haren is only under a one-year contract and trading to get Gallardo would mean that the Nationals would just have to ride out the life of Haren’s contract and then boot him out the door after the season.

So far this trade season, the Nationals have been quiet with their plans, if they have any at all. Rizzo and manager Davey Johnson have held firm in their support of their current team. It is important to note that they did trade for Chicago Cubs outfielder Scott Hairston.

But, trading for a pitcher like Gallardo could prove to be a great move in the long run. While he would have an immediate impact in 2013, Gallardo would also help restore the starting rotation to the terrifying force that it was in 2012.

The deadline is seven days away: July 31. For the Nationals, it could be a busy, sleepless seven days.

Brian Skinnell is a writer for Follow him on Twitter and add him to your network on Google.

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