Standing Pat

It has been a couple days since the trade deadline past, and as could have been predicted when the Nats did nothing there was a fair amount of anger lifted their way. Had they made a big and surprising trade the hate may very well have been equal from people saying they gave up too much, because if the Nats were going to make a trade to improve the team it was going to be a surprise. The types of players the Nats really need can be added in the waiver process and they may in fact be in the process of adding Yorvit Torrealba who was DFA'd by the Rangers a day before the deadline. The Rangers now have ten days to trade or release Torrealba. There are also catchers like Ramon Hernandez that should have no issue clearing waivers due to contract issues. 

The moves to come are not the issue. There will be trades in August and a couple might be made by the Nationals, but the most important thing to remember is that sometime in mid-August Werth and Desmond will be back on the field. Solano might also be progressing at a rate that made it unwise for the Nats to give up much for a catcher only marginally better. Let's assume everything goes right for the Nationals even though it hasn't all season long. Every time the Nats looked like they were going to be healthy someone else would get hurt, but just for argument's sake let's hope things go right for once.

Here is what the Nationals line-up should look like by OPS from mid-August to the end of the season; .810, .762, .802, .786, .837, .825, .703, .586, pitcher. The one glaring hole in the eighth spot in the Nats line-up is catcher and if Solano can comeback or the Nats start Leon more often down the stretch then that will go from .586 to something higher. Solano has a .923 OPS is 37 PA and Leon .646 in 25. Both are too small of sample sizes to make a judgment, but Flores is scuffling, playing hurt, and honestly it is hurting the Nationals far more than it is helping at this point. If Solano is close to being healthy then he or Leon should be the primary starter while Flores heads to the DL to rest and recover.

Now of course the OPS's of the Nats projected line-up mean nothing unless compared to league average. The NL average line-up looks something like this; .690, .727, .850, .815, .757, .737, .715, .672, pitcher. The Nationals line-up will be above average at four of the six spots and it can be deduced that both Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse are better than their current numbers and could easily outplay league average down the stretch. The big question with standing pat at the deadline is could the Nationals have improved. Hunter Pence, Shane Victorino, and Hanley Ramirez were the big offensive pieces dealt, and none of them would have improved the Nats.

First and least importantly is the message acquiring a known clubhouse issue guy like Hanley Ramirez would have sent to the organization. Especially when he would be replacing either Desmond, Espinosa, or Zimmerman in the line-up, and the second part of this is would the Marlins have traded him within the division and would the Nats have given them the future pieces they wanted to do so. The Phillies would have been less concerned with trading Victorino to the Nats as he is a free agent at the end of the season, but who sits for him. Victorino has had a disappointing season and Morse, Harper, and Werth all have higher OPS's than him, and while Hunter Pence has a higher OPS than Bryce Harper his defense is a gigantic issue.  

None of the big offensive peices would have helped the Nats as much as simply getting healthy will. It is something the Nats have been unable to do all season long, but now it is starting to look like they may do it. The other trade people wanted to see made was for a starting pitcher. Detwiler has pitched well enough this season that it is hard to find a pitcher that was traded that is better than him. Dempster and Greinke are the only ones and Dempster was only interested in going to a select number of clubs and the Nats were not one of them and it is arguable that Dempster's career numbers make him close enough to an equal fill in as John Lannan and therefore not worth the prospects it would have cost to get him. 

That leaves Zack Greinke and he is the only player that was traded at the deadline that would have improved the Nationals. The question though is: would it have been worth it for a two month rental? The Angels gave up a major league ready short stop and two AA pitchers. The Nationals don't have a major league ready short stop so there may not have been a match even though the Nats could have blown the Brewers away with high upside talent that is further away. Getting Greinke would have made the Nationals the World Series favorites, but the prospect cost would have been huge and unless Greinke would have signed an extension with the Nats the deal wouldn't have been worth it. 

Sometimes the best deal to make is no deal at all. The remainder of this season has yet to play out and the Braves are nipping at the Nats heals. There is a lot of baseball left to be played and anything can happen down the stretch, but looking at it objectively it does not appear that there were any trades out there that would have improved the Nats. 

© 2019 Citizens of Natstown