The trade deadline comes to a close in just 2 days!

This year’s trade deadline is on August 1 at 6 pm ET. We are officially on “hug” watch. The Washington Nationals are most likely trading Jeimer Candelario. Beyond trading him, the situation got a little cloudy because two of the main trade candidates, closer Hunter Harvey and set-up reliever Carl Edwards Jr., are both on the 15-day IL and not returning any time soon.

With Harvey being under team-control through the 2025 season and the injury, Rizzo said he isn’t going sell low on him. With Edwards playing in his final contract year now, he has diminished value because of his injury. Other players that are getting trade inquiries are OF Lane Thomas and closer Kyle Finnegan, and both have team control like Harvey through the 2025 season.

General manager Mike Rizzo said on MLB Network Radio today that “Harvey was a popular guy until he got injured.” This was a tweet from 2 1/2 weeks ago that touched on Harvey’s popularity early in the process along with Candelario. Timing is everything — because then Harvey was injured.

The Nats have been listening to trade talks for weeks now. The Harvey and Edwards injuries changed a lot. But nothing as of this morning has tempted Rizzo to finalize a deal on other players.

“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. … 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 [to make a trade].”

— General Manager Mike Rizzo said earlier this month

Remember, 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. Rizzo has been doing this long enough to know that supply and demand are a key in the process along with the quality of your trade chip. In 2017, he 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 Finnegan. But he is going to try to score big on trading Candelario.

“One trade could domino to a bunch of trades. You have to be prepared for each and every situation that comes up. You’re busy as could be with one trade or 10 trades. … We have several players that teams are interested in.”

— Mike Rizzo said on MLB Network Radio today

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 Thomas, who is team-controlled through the 2025 season, if teams only value him as a part-time or bench player. Rizzo said he has about eight teams interested in Candelario.

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 trend 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.

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.

“We haven’t made a trade yet. There is nothing that is imminent, right now. But I do believe that in the next couple of days that we will complete a trade or two that will make ourselves better [for the future].”

“We want to improve ourselves. But we want to stay good, and we don’t want to take a step backwards. We’re going to be careful with who we trade and who we move. And if there is a guy who could help us in the near-future, we’d have to get a good price to move him. That’s kind of our thought process.”

Ownership is tired of losing games, and we’re trying to really compete to finish this year off, and go into next year with a team that we think has a chance to be a very entertaining team to watch.”

— Mike Rizzo said on MLB Network Radio today

With less than 48-hours to go, it’s crunch time.

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