The best trade package on an expiring contract is the reality of the situation

We are seven hours from the close of this year’s trade deadline at 6 pm ET. The sure bet that Jeimer Candelario was going to be dealt became a reality. General manager Mike Rizzo took the best package he was offered. DJ Herz and Kevin Made are now members of the Nats’ minor league system from the Candelario trade with the Cubs.

Beyond trading Candelario, a source told us this morning that any deals for OF Lane Thomas and closer Kyle Finnegan, will have to basically blow Rizzo away. Both players are controlled through the 2025 season and will be good transition pieces from the rebuild to what is hoped to be winning years or as Rizzo phrased it that they want to “go into next year with a team that we think has a chance to be a very entertaining team to watch.” That is new vernacular so you don’t over-promise and get held to any talk about winning. Winning?!? Winning?!? Entertaining baseball is what we will expect in 2024.

The Nats have been listening to trade talks for weeks now. The Harvey and Edwards injuries changed a lot. With Candelario done, Rizzo has Carl Edwards Jr., Corey Dickerson, and Trevor Williams as the most probable trade chips if any team wants them.

“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

As the hours tick away, there could be a GM or two that show signs of desperation. That has happened before, and that is Rizzo’s hope that his phone rings with a trade proposition that he just cannot turn down.

“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

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 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 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

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