Nationals Baseball: Do the targets change?

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Do the targets change?

Prior to this weekend I said I wanted the Nats to get another arm for the pen and to kick the tires, so to speak, on trades that would help them beyond 2018. With Strasburg facing some sort of injury review today has my mind changed?


Yes, yes it has.


Relying on Strasburg, Roark, and Gio in 2-3-4 was already a tenuous positions. Injury, past performances, and more recent performance all cast doubt on their ability to perform at a high level come October. You can't erase doubt, but you can try your best to decrease it. At this point that means going after a long term pitching solution.  And what does THAT mean? Honestly it means Sonny Gray.


A couple weeks ago I had Gray in there with Gerrit Cole and Dan Straily. Why does it end up being just Gray? Well the Pirates don't seem to be inclined to pack it in for the near future and thus would want to keep an arm like Cole. I don't doubt they could be convinced to part with him but given how he's pitched over the past month they are probably looking for a #1 starter type package. Given how he pitched the beginning of the year, teams including the Nats, are probably looking to give up less. As for Dan Straily, well the Marlins don't have any pitching so to trade Straily would be an utterly confusing move. Cheap and good, if you trade him you might as well trade everyone because you aren't competing until at least 2019. I don't think that's where the Marlins are based on the last couple weeks of talk so Straily comes off the table. I think.


Everyone else able to help the Nats going beyond 2018 will involve taking on some part of a huge salary. I suppose that they could come up with a deal for say a Samardzjia and then agree to a restructuring of it but none of the big contract guys are so appealing that you feel like you are getting a sure thing down the line.


No the answer, if there is to be one, is Sonny Gray. What will it take?


If it's Robles I still balk. As I've explained Robles is a player I'd definitely expect to help the Nats in some manner past 2018. Werth will not be helping past then and Bryce may be gone. Even if he's just an average outfielder you have to hold onto him. That way you can use the cost savings to get someone to help somewhere else. True, you (should) like Gray to be more impactful. Bird in the hand and all. But between a pitcher I feel really good about for 2018-9 and a AA hitter I feel pretty good about through the mid 2020s, I gotta side with the latter.


If it's anything else I probably bite. But being honest, if it's anything else there's a good chance another team could outbid the Nats.


This is where I stand today, not knowing what's up with Strasburg. A "issue of routine" could swing my head back toward the 3rd pen arm being most important. While I still would feel iffy about the playoff rotation, if Stras is healthy you can't ask your team for much more than a Max/Stras 1-2 + competence in a series. And while I would want Nats to look at help going forward, there's always the offseason. Anything worse than that - anything missing time and the above holds.

20 comments:

JE34 said...

What is the likelihood that the Nats have the best offer for Sonny Gray, if the Yankees are also interested in his services? I say very low.

Kevin Rusch said...

I'd really love to see some catching help. The thing that made the Nats unstoppable earlier in the season was good hitting 1-8.

steven hamilton said...

I agree with JE34, there seem to be several teams interested in Gray, and with deep pockets and a willingness to spend (looking at the Yanks and the Dodgers)...so maybe not Gray.

Froggy said...

Harper, other than salary considerations(which are a significant issue) are there any other reasons why you wouldn't consider Verlander? Do you believe Gray is a build-your-future-rotation-around, 2 or 3 kind of pitcher?

Anonymous said...

By any chance did anyone out there notice how the Dodgers just came right out and told everyone the straight truth about Kershaw's injury right away? None of Mike Rizzo's stupid ass, pointless Bill Belichick black op bullshit at all.

I guess that's just how a confident, straight shooting organization operates, and it's kind of refreshing actually.

Harper said...

Froggy - he's 34. He is having a below average year. It appears that whatever adjustments he made to compensate for slippage 3 years ago have been undone by age. Don't expect anything better than what he's putting up right now. That's at best a 3/4.

Alex Freeman said...

Anon - I wouldn't classify them as a "confident, straight shooting organization" because they disclosed Kershaw's injury. I'd instead say they have the best record in baseball, are cruising in their division, and have tons of pitching depth so everyone knows they're not looking for a starter regardless so they don't lose leverage by disclosing that. The Nats meanwhile are looking for a starter so if Rizzo discloses Strasburg is out for the year, suddenly the asking price for them goes up. It's not "black op BS", it's an intelligent leverage move.

Regarding Gray, I'd LOVE for the Nats to get him but the asking price has to be Robles and if you take him out, you get outbid. They should go for Verlander instead to give up less prospects and get a comparable pitcher for the near-term. But if you can get Gray for a package that doesn't include Robles, definitely definitely do that. He's a solid/great pitcher under team control through 2020. But for those reasons, I see Robles as a necessity to get the deal done and with Werth and Harper gone in two years, I wouldn't pull the trigger on that.

Harper said...

Anon - I was going to say that yesterday but it's not fair to the Nats. Dodgers were at home so they looked at him that night, first thing next morning. Nats travelling yesterday so today is really first chance for them to formally announce anything. If there isn't an announcement by game time tonight then go ahead and call shenanigans.

Anonymous said...

Any chance Fedde + Soto + 2nd tier prospect could get it done? If so you'd have to consider it, right?

Anonymous said...

Besides the Yanks and Dodgers, the other thing that makes a trade for Gray unlikely is that Houston needs SP, and they have a much better farm system to put a deal together for Gray. Even though Billy Beane and Mike Rizzo frequently act like besties, I see the Nats coming in 3rd or 4th for Gray.

Dustin M. Smith said...

Fedde was scheduled to start G1 of doubleheader for Syracuse today. Jacob Turner pitching instead. Something in the works maybe? Maybe?????

JW said...

Or he could be getting called up to the Nats.

Fries said...

One thing missing from this conversation is Darvish. Gray isn't the only pitcher out there people are looking to snag. Darvish's price tag is going to be about the same as Gray, maybe even cheaper since he's a rental. Then there's possibilities for Verlander/Wilson packages, there's possibilities that the Royals (Vargas) or the Twins (Santana) look to sell off for the right price. Gray isn't the only guy out there. And Houston/LAD are the only clubs guaranteed to go out and get a starter at this point.

I'm thinking whatever deal Rizzo makes, it'll be happening at the 11th hour after he sees how everything else plays out, because there are way too many variables right now and dealing right now will absolutely be an overspend

Anonymous said...

Janes tweets that Stras was examined by docs and is expected to make his next start. No word on MRI.

Anonymous said...

3 month rentals are so against the grain philosophically for Rizzo that I just can't believe they would be a serious contender for Darvish...

PhthePhillies said...

I call BS on the Janes tweet. If I were trading with the Nats, I'd wait till Saturday to see that next start.
I know he's too expensive but who wouldn't love to see Verlander suddenly getting into his old form come playoff time and bringing the Nats along with him to the promised land?

Jay said...

According to the tweeter, Strasburg had a nerve impingement. He threw off flat ground today. Word is they are planning for him to make his next start. Fedde did throw a bullpen. My guess is if Strasburger feels off after today then Fedde makes spot start. I've read that Oakland wants a young CF. My guess is it takes Robles plus to get Gray. I'd do Soto plus but probably not Robles plus. I would definitely do Fedde plus. Keep in mind though that Gray has injury history as well. I'd love for them to get BP help over starter help. Also, read that Detroit is trying to package big contracts with other players to shed payroll. I'd love Verlander and Wilson. We'll see.

PhthePhillies said...

Nerve impingement diagnosed with ultrasound. I hope that's the real story.

Jay said...

Yeah. Supposedly "alleviated". Whatever that means. Hopefully it is accurate. Strasburg deserves some injury luck. Even though at some point is some of these pitcher injuries bc Dusty leaves guys in too long?

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