This year’s trade deadline is on August 1 at 6 pm ET. We are officially on “hug” watch. The Washington Nationals are going to make trade(s) of players on the final years of their contracts. Of course teams want healthy -AND- productive players — and the most popular name we were told that teams were inquiring on is closer Hunter Harvey, who is currently on the 15-day IL. Another trade candidate, Carl Edwards Jr. is readying himself to return from the IL, and will need to show that he can help a team.
General manager Mike Rizzo is under no obligation to help other teams. His obligation is to help the Washington Nationals. He was on the other side of this from 2012-to-2019 as a buyer, and was squeezed like an apple for his juice when he was looking for relievers in 2017. Rizzo finally acquired Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson before that 2017 trade deadline, and had to surrender Jesús Luzardo, Sheldon Neuse and Blake Treinen. Fat chance that Rizzo could score a haul like that for Harvey and Edwards in a package, or even throwing in Finnegan.
Some would say the trade market has changed — but everything is a negotiation, and Rizzo has some good assets to trade. He has said he won’t trade Lane Thomas, who is team-controlled through the 2025 season, if teams only value him as a part-time or bench player.
Everything for the Nats is about getting better for the future. This is where you target quality over quantity. Let me repeat, quality over quantity which means if you are offered the 22nd and 24th best players in an organization that are the equivalent of Brenner Cox and Jared McKenzie, I would rather pass, and hold out for a Top-10 prospect or a fringe Top-10 like Daylen Lile (MLB Pipeline No. 15 ranked prospect) because you want true MLB potential rather than players that profile as future minor league filler. Sure, they are lotto tickets. Cox and McKenzie were fourth and fifth round Nats’ draft picks last year. Remember, Lile would be a Top-10 in many weaker farm systems. His arrow is pointing up, and those are the players you want to target, not warm bodies to show you did something at the trade deadline.
“We’re open for business. We’re going to do deals that make sense for us. We have a plan in place. We have a blueprint in place for this rebuild.”
“We’re always open-minded, and we’ll always be aggressive. That’s not to say we’re going to move everybody. But if we can move the ball forward in the rebuild process, we certainly will be open-minded to it.”
“Everyone on expiring deals, those decisions are fairly easy.”— Rizzo said to the media yesterday
Open for business, and it is always good to hear what other GMs think of your players. Could anyone be calling for Patrick Corbin or Trevor Williams from the starting rotation or even Joey Meneses for a DH? You never want to say never as Rizzo pulled off some grand larceny when he traded Jon Lester for Thomas at the 2021 trade deadline.
Simultaneously to the trade deadline, Rizzo also has some final details to finish up the Dylan Crews signing as his first round draft pick, and that is a sizeable part of the Nats’ future. It is about building a future roster to win championships — and that is the goal here, approaching the trade deadline.