The Nats did nothing on the last day of trading and at this point we have to accept the pattern.
They will not give up any meaningful prospects for a top player available in trade. They will not (pending further information and trades) spend any significant money mid-season. These facts mean its unlikely the Nats will stock up at the trade deadline, fixing all potential issues. Instead they are limited to finding one useful piece that fits these criteria. This is what they did this year for Melancon, and last year (Papelbon), and in 2014 (Cabrera), and in 2013 (Hairston), and in 2012 (Suzuki - actually mixing it up with a wavier trade 3 days after the deadline!)
So next year when the Nats need a... i don't know, 1st baseman, LOOGY, and could use a bench OF, expect them to pick up one of those for what seems like a great deal and do nothing else. Twice is a pattern. Five times is a corporate philosophy.
What about the Bruce trade? It makes the Mets competent. To me, it's the equivalent to the Johnson/Uribe trade they made last year. It sets them up with a major league line-up again but it doesn't provide a game changing player. Like with the Marlins deal I take this to mean I can't dismiss the Mets out of hand. However, I may very well soon be able to dismiss them given the circumstances. Adding Lucroy as well would have made me worried.
Anything else from the deadline? Yes, the Giants, even year juggernauts, solidified a spotty rotation and shored up a tired pen. Wil Smith is just good. Matt Moore is merely fine. But the important part is they keep the Giants from having to use players that are not good and not fine.
The overall trade deadline certainly felt like the Nats are saying, "this is the team we are rolling with" against more aggressive moves from the likes of the Giants, Cubs, and Dodgers. The Pirates even seemed to try to re-tool on the fly. It's understandable in the face of the Mets and the Marlins, why the Nats don't really need to do more. But come October they aren't playing the Mets and the Marlins anymore and the "this is the team we are rolling with" philosophy has gotten the Nats all of two early October trips to St. Louis and San Francisco during this time.
Am I too down? Perhaps. But I feel like the constant moderate budget prospect driven success that the Nats are going for is extremely hard to obtain. I think the end result is what we've seen so far, on and off years, playoffs and not. Yes the Braves did it but the Braves run was based around three, THREE, Hall of Fame pitchers in their relative prime pitching for the team at the same time, boosted mid run by a HOF third baseman.That's a hard thing to replicate, even when handed two "generational" talents.
OK but there's the season to finish out and a pennant to take. Nats KILL. Mets lose. Marlins lose. Feeling pretty good about things so I take that to mean the Nats will lose the next two?