The Washington Nationals methods are about as anti-trade deadline as it can get.
Nobody ever expects Washington to make a move when they are probably most likely to make a move. Lying in the weeds, biding time and striking when nobody expects it is exactly how Washington does business. GM Mike Rizzo has never made a deal anyone saw coming, and has become somewhat of a MLB ninja, waiting in the shadows to strike when someone least expects it.
Look at every big deal Rizzo has made. When Rizzo acquired Gio Gonzalez, the word prior was that Washington was “unlikely” to go after a guy like Gonzalez because of the high price tag prospect-wise. Well, not only did he land Gonzalez, but Rizzo also signed him to a a team-friendly extension and ended up getting a prospect he gave up in the deal back a year later.
What Rizzo does is bide his time and just hints at what he is doing, never divulging more than “we’ve made calls” or “we’ve received calls.”
The same strategy went into getting Rafael Soriano. Seriously, who saw Washington signing him? The Nats were perceived to have their closer for years to come in Drew Storen, but Rizzo sat back, watched the market develop, watched it break down and swooped in to get his guy.
The same rings true in 2013.
The trade deadline, especially with the extra Wild Card spot, is very slow to develop, so a lot of bigger deals will either go down within the next 36 hours or have already occurred a la Matt Garza. Washington no doubt needs a starter, perhaps two, because of Ross Detwiler‘s back injury and the innings limit on rookie revelation Taylor Jordan.
Rizzo, as we speak, is most likely having conversations we will never hear about.
Until we hear that Washington has acquired someone, that is — and that’s just how he likes it.