With almost all hope of the postseason gone, the Washington Nationals are 8.0 games out of first place. The team will start re-tooling with an eye on the future. That came early this year. A bust. For the rest of the games, they will play the role of “spoiler” as they have this series against their division rival Philadelphia Phillies who are in second place and hoping to make the playoffs.
There will be a pre-game roster move to make room for Joe Ross to be activated from the 10-day IL today. The Phillies will be starting righty Spencer Howard who the Nats have faced before.
Of course, the Nats also find themselves in “sell mode” and we will see who the team is willing to part with over the next 4 days leading into the trade deadline.
Does it kind of feel like 2018 around here? Hopefully general manager Mike Rizzo scores better than he did in 2018 when he traded Brandon Kintzler, Gio Gonzalez, and Daniel Murphy and saw Matt Adams get claimed in waivers. The return on all of those players was near a big zero as the team walked away with Jhon Romero, K.J. Harrison, Gilbert Lara, and Andruw Monasterio of which none reached anything close to even the Top-3o prospects in the Nats system. None would even make the Top-50 list, making them all kind of organizational filler. One of the goals in 2018 was to trade enough salaries to get under the salary cap CBT, but the Nats did not even accomplish that as they ended up a few million over. That was insult to injury.
Rizzo has a chance this time to go for quality over quantity in trades to beef up the team’s farm system. If it feels like 2010 again, you hope Rizzo can pull off the trade like the team did under Stan Kasten when they traded Matt Capps for Wilson Ramos. Coincidentally, in that same week the team traded Cristian Guzman for Tanner Roark although that seemed like a trade that few thought would bare fruit. Kasten was the guy with the “plan” and it was executed well as picking at the top of the draft yielded team cornerstones in a way we can hope Brady House does for this team’s future along with Cade Cavalli. Can Rizzo find his Ramos in 2021’s trade market and his version of Jesus Luzardo?
For years, the Nats were on the other end of the trade deadline unloading top prospects for “win now” players, and most of that was to shore up the bullpen. Luzardo along with Sheldon Neuse, and Blake Treinen were all shipped to Oakland to get back Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson. Who can Rizzo get for Brad Hand and Daniel Hudson? If Max Scherzer agrees to be traded, who can Rizzo get, for arguably the best available starting pitcher, on the market?
These questions will be answered shortly, and the next chapter will be written about Rizzo and the Nationals. GM’s records are about wins and losses, trades, free agent acquisitions, player development, and the status of the farm system.
Washington Nationals vs. Philadelphia Phillies
Stadium: Citizen’s Bank Ballpark, Philadephia, Pennsylvania
1st Pitch: 7:05 pm EDT
TV: MASN, NBC Sports Philadelphia, MLB Network out-of-area only, MLB.TV
Nats Radio: 106.7 FM The Fan; SiriusXM® ( Streaming Internet 869)
Line-ups subject to change without notice: