Nationals Baseball: Trade Targets

Monday, July 10, 2017

Trade Targets

Here we are. The All-Star break. The Nats haven't made it intact but in the past week they have proved that at the very least they are still no worse than the next best teams in the NL East and that is more than enough. Even if you hate the current MASH unit Nats and think they are equal to the rest of the dregs of the division, that still means the rest of the dregs have to play 10 games better than the Nats over the course of 75 games or so.

That may not sound like a lot but it is. Take a look at the standings. Only in eight instances has a team put 10 games between them and another team so far. And that's considering all the teams, with all their differences in talent, in more games. Nope the Nats are safe (until Scherzer and Bryce go base jumping) and we can turn our heads to the future now and that means fixing the Nats current issues.

That means trades for relievers, obviously. But it could also mean a trade for a starter. Ross has gone down with some ailment and hadn't been reliable before that. Roark is hanging on this season. Do you trust Gio in a big spot in the playoffs? It could also mean a trade for a catcher. Wieters/Lobaton could be the worst catching duo in the majors this year.  It could mean a 3rd OF.  MAT is now out and with no time table for return. Werth is still out and is 1000 years old in baseball years. Goodwin is hanging on by his fingernails right now as his stats keep on slipping, slipping, slipping into the 5th outfielder future. It could even mean a new SS as Trea Turner should be back but if the right deal is there, how do you turn it down?

So the Nats, who say a month ago might have been only focused on relievers are now open for business across the board.  What do the standings say about who's selling.

Prob Not : TEX, CHC, COL, NYM, TBR
Prob Yes : LAA, ATL, PIT

Doesn't matter, won't trade with Nats : BAL (Mets probably fit here too)

This is just my take based on what I've read and believe. Vaguely this reads as : teams currently in strong contention for a division title won't sell. Teams in WC contention, or teams that feel built for now even if year has gotten away from them, probably won't sell. Teams that aren't built for this year, but are on the fringes of playoff contentions, probably will sell. Teams that are in contention for nothing, will sell. Basically it's a combination of where you are, where you are trending, and what you felt going into the year. Also this list isn't set, things could change with a dramatic run or fall in the week or two after the ASB.

Anyway those the teams. Who are the players? We'll start going over that in detail tomorrow but a non-exhaustive list includes...

RP: Melancon (SFG), Doolittle (OAK) Wilson (DET), Neshek (PHI), Ramos (MIA), Robertson (CHW), Hand (SDP),  Madson (OAK), Blevins (NYM), Johnson (ATL), Watson (PIT), Reed (NYM), Vizcaino (ATL), Smith (TOR), Nicasio (PIT) Cuthcer (SDP),

SP: Stroman (TOR), Cobb (TBR), Cole (PIT), Quitana (CHW),Shields (CHW), Cueto (SFG), Samardzjia (SFG), Verlander (DET), Gray (OAK), Lynn (STL), Estrada (TOR), Hellickson (PHI), Volquez (MIA), Straily (MIA), Feldman (CIN), Holland (CHW), Dickey (ATL)
C: Avila (DET), Suzuki (ATL)

OF: Martinez (DET), McCutchen (PIT), Upton (DET), Cabrera (CHW), Bruce (NYM), Granderson (NYM), Markakis (ATL)

SS: Cozart (CIN)

What we see here is some hard truths. There are very few impact players available this year. Relief wise there are no shutdown relief types with a history of saves out there for the Nats. There are still good arms and a reliable save guy or two but not that big name. That could be good as the Nats don't have a deep system to trade from, but it could be bad because usually the prices stay relatively high for the best available. Notice the depth here takes a hit though if you pull the Mets and Braves out.  Since they likely are looking to 2018 they would have to win this trade or give the Nats someone that's a FA next year. Neither of those ideas match up with Rizzo's trade history.

On the starter side, what it lacks in stars, it makes up for in quality. If it were a normal season I'd fully expect the Nats to flip for one of these guys with a couple years of control.  The bats are weak in the areas the Nats may pursue. Catcher is extremely limited and with Wieters basically set for next year too I don't see them going for that. SS is basically one player (unless you want AsCab back) so cost will be high and it was a stretch to begin with so that's probably out. Outfield is the only one I see as a maybe but with all the high salaries here I'm not sure the Nats will find a partner. They'll be wanting the other team to eat a lot of cash. The other team will only do that for better prospects and the Nats probably won't sell the ones that matter.

OK so fill in any names you think are worth talking about. Tomorrow we go through relief arms.


Adam VB said...

I know it is easier said than done, but the Nats would be wise to trade away everyone not named Robles for a SP and Closer.

A couple weeks ago I was leaning towards Fedde being untouchable because of the lack of SP depth, but this has to be the Nats banner year with the lineup they have so go all-in.

BxJaycobb said...

Fulmer (DET). Iglesias (CIN), Osuna (TOR), Schebler (CIN), Santana (MIN), Ziegler (MIA), Phelps (MIA)

PotomacFan said...

The Mets will be selling (although probably not, as you note, to the Nats). Matt Harvey will likely be traded. The Mets need to get him out of NY. And even if the Mets won't trade Reed or Blevins to the Nats, the more RPs available, the better for the Nats in negotiating with other teams. Supply and demand.

The Nats are looking at Cincinnati's closer.

I wouldn't be surprised if KCR becomes a seller. That puts Herrera in the market.

I expect TBR to be a seller. That puts Colome in the market.

I think the Nats will try to get a starter, if they can afford it. Ross cannot be relied on, and Roark has lost his magic.

I'm not so sure that Robles is untouchable. If the Nats have confidence in MAT, and if they can get a quality player still under control for 1 - 2 years, Robles may be in the mix. Sure, you don't want to give up your best prospect, but the Nats are in the proverbial 2 year window to win, and they might want to go for it. On the other hand, we know that the team's philosophy is to keep coming back to the playoffs hoping one day to win it.

Other issues: Dusty is going to kill Scherzer's arm. Scherzer was dying out there the other day, and Dusty left him in. It would be one thing if the Nats had a lead, but they were losing 2 - 1.

Solis needs to go back to AAA.

TOR will definitely be a seller.

BxJaycobb said...

@Potomac Fan: couldn't agree more re Max. I have no earthly idea what dusty is thinking. The division is won. This is the whole season u are risking. What the hell is the matter with him?
----the report on Iglesias was knocked down pretty hard by the local Cincy press who basically said reds would have to be knocked head over heels with an "astronomical offer" to consider dealing Iglesias. Anythings possible but I think that was a nothing rumor.
---Tampa Bay and KC aren't selling. They are both in wild card position (or like a game out)....and KC is like a game or two out of first place. Unless one of them literally loses like 7 games out of the break they are absolutely not selling. KC GM especially said he would not break up this team and it's their last hurrah and the players earned a chance by getting so hot recently. So I wish I could agree re Herrera and Colome but everything I read suggests they're contending. They may not buy but they're not going to sell.
----on robles, I suppose the question is whether u really think the Nats window is going to be closing in 2018. I'm not so sure anymore---both because the NL East rebuilding teams aren't going to well in near future, with Phillies and Marlins in particular looking like dumpster fires....and because the Nats may if things break right compensate for loss of Bryce with a combination of young position players in Trea, Robles, and perhaps MAT. I think longer term their problem will be pitching, as max and Stras get older....and Roark and ross look like uncertain commodities. But a lot of money will be available to sign FAs. So I'm frankly not sure the window is in fact closing. There's no emerging powerhouse in the division that I can see...although braves and Mets will not be bad.

KW said...

Blevins back to the Nats would require Hell to freeze over in both NYC and DC. It's about as likely as, oh, Storen back to the Nats!

Melancon has a full no-trade as well as three more years left on that long contract the Nats (rightly) didn't want to give him.

My dream trade target is Bumgarner. I know it would never happen, but if you want someone with that true championship pedigree, plus the left-handedness to beat the Dodgers, he's the guy. (He's also been known to close a few big games in a pinch.)

More realistically, add Blake Parker of LAA to the reliever list. He's not a closer, but he's been very effective this year.

BxJaycobb said...

KW: yeah never gonna happen. Parker is good idea, but need angels to lose some games

Fries said...

After watching Wilson last night, I really want the Nats to take a chance on him. Lefty with an absolutely dirty cutter? Huge plus right there.

If the Nats target a SP, I want it to be Cueto. He's a rental (no way he doesn't opt out at the end of the year), so it won't cost the Nats much beyond probably the rest of his salary this year and a couple of middling prospects.

And I really do think the Nats need to make a move for an OF with MAT uncertain. Raburn/Heisey/Goodwin isn't going to cut it. You can deal with a hole in the lineup at SS, that's how 80% of the league operates. But you can't have two holes in the outfield. I'm still pretty pessimistic about MAT, so I say get an OF with a few years of control as a holdover until Robles is ready, shifting Eaton over to the corner next year if necessary.

So who does that look like? Well you could kick the tires on Ozuna, but that'll cost the farm. Same with Pillar. I can dream about Hamilton, but I don't see the Reds dealing him either.

Oh what the hell, throw Robles, Fedde, Stevenson, etc at the Angels and grab Trout. I'm sure they'll sell him, right?

G Cracka X said...

How about Nunez from SF for super utility, and Kanhle or Swarzak from CHW for relief depth?

Anonymous said...

I want no part of Cueto. Dude stomped another player's head and ended his career. I don't care if he's "rehabilitated" himself, he did it. Pete Rose gambled (yes I agree that's a bad thing) and got a lifetime ban; Cueto got suspended for 7 games for ending LaRue's career and forever changing LaRue's life. F*** Cueto.

JE34 said...

@PotomacFan - amen re Solis. That poor guy has been throwing meatballs since his return, big fat belt high, center-cut meatballs. Holy cow.

Harper said...

Bx - I can talk about Iglesias but like you said - it would take a big sale. Schebler is similar. Both these guys could be big for 2020 Reds for little cost in theory. MIN right now isn't trading... we'll have to see. Others are fair

Potomac - KC could be a seller that's up in the air, right now I lean toward no. Rays are ALWAYS selling but right now just mean Cobb (FA next year) could go for someone that could help this year. But that would be likely be a cheap/young replacement starter, which Nats don't have. But wait a bit bc they can shift hard given their history and financial position. I'm still betting against TOR being a seller UNLESS they get a great offer for Donaldson. Once you sell him you might as well keep going.

on Max - Dusty showed a pretty good tendency to rest down the stretch so let's not worry just yet.

KW _ Parker is good. Hope LA loses some games after the break.

Josh Higham said...

I really don't like the idea that the Nats need a starting pitcher, but it's unavoidable at this time, even if you're very confident Gio can win 3 or 4 playoff games for you (and I don't know how anyone could be confident in that).

Jay said...

I think trying to get a starter and several bullpen pieces is asking a lot. I'm ok with going with a closer and another bullpen arm and seeing how things go. The Dodgers beat us last year with Kershaw and a bunch of nothing. The Giants beat us with Bumgarner and a bunch of nothing. They need a topflight closer and another arm I think. Blanton has looked better. Romero looks better. Kelley and Glover could be on their way back. They need a closer and a lefty. Give up Soto or someone else (not Robles) and make it happen. Personally, I'd try to get Robertson. Cover his entire salary. I'd then get Colome from TB.

TWV1026 said...

How about Brad Boxberger? Just came back from injury and hasn't given up a hit since his return. Extremely SSS, I know, but he used to be the closer in Tampa, and so far looks like his old self. We lost out on the Holland gamble, I say try Boxberger.

Kevin Rusch said...

"They'll be wanting the other team to eat a lot of cash."
This part drives me absolutely bonkers. CASH is what the nats have, and it allows you to get a player without giving up prospects. Especially when you look at the $ coming off the books this year (and maybe more after that), cash is the easy part.

KW said...

Yes, the Nats generally end up overpaying in terms of prospect value in midseason deals because the Lerners won't take on new salary. I'm sure this situation makes Rizzo pull his hair out every year . . . with obvious results.

Jay, your general point that the Dodgers and Giants didn't have much beyond one real starter stud is correct, but the Giants actually lost the one game against the Nats that MadBum started. Fister matched him pretty well, although neither figured in the final decision. I still don't know how the Giants not only beat the Nats but won the whole stickin' thing with Peavy, end-of-career Hudson, and Vogelsong.

Honestly, I've been thinking about it for months, and I still haven't figured out the best closer target from a team likely to be out of contention enough to trade. There are no Chapmans, Millers, or Melancons out there this year, not even close. Robertson is a very average guy. Iglesias is intriguing, but he's totally inexperienced in big games/postseason and certainly not worth an astronomical price, even controlled for three more years. Whoever the Nats get, it's going to feel like they "settled," although in this market, settling may be the best they can get.

Plus bullpens are a crap-shoot. Just ask Harper about the one in the Bronx . . .

Ben said...

I know a way we can get Barry Bonds and Ken Griffey Jr. and we won't have to give up that much . . .

DezoPenguin said...

If we really think that Werth is going to miss substantial time this year, I think Rizzo would be advised to call up DET and see if we can get Wilson and Martinez in one deal.

Otherwise, trying to pry multiple relievers out of the Angels or Padres seems like the best bet.

The problem with the SP issue is that we're not just looking for someone to eat innings if Ross is injured (otherwise something like a Cahill+Hand+Maurer deal with the Padres would be something worth looking at), but someone who's good enough to make Gio Gonzalez into a 4th starter in any playoff series against someone not the Dodgers. Roark ought to be that guy already, but he's been execrable in June, to the point that I'm starting to worry there's something wrong there. And getting an SP of that quality on top of fortifying the pen with multiple quality arms (without even getting into the question of the outfield, where we have reached the point of "I really hope Michael Taylor will come back from his injury soon!") is not going to be cheap. Fixing all those things and hanging on to Robles will not be easy.

Anonymous said...

How on earth is Werth still out? He didn't even break any bones in his foot right?

JW said...

They probably just aren't rushing Werth back at all given the lead in the division. It's likely more about rest than injury at this point.

I don't think that the Nats are going to be able to add in multiple places. They just don't have the spending flexibility or the farm system to get that done. So I don't see any moves for SS or OF happening. And even half-way decent SP options are going to be way too costly because of the limited seller options and the needs across the league.

My guess is that its pretty much bullpen help (probably 2 arms) or nothing. We'll just have to see if Roark can re-bound, MAT can stay somewhat productive, and TT can round into form quickly after returning from injury.

Anonymous said...

As much run support as Joe Ross starts get, I say we at least trot him out for a good luck one inning outing before turning it over to someone else and watch the offense score 10+ runs!! Just joking...sort of.

Anonymous said...

Add Joe Ross to the list of anecdotal data points showing that no matter how cautious you are with a young arm or a recovering arm, no matter how well you follow all of the recommendations and protocols of the surgeons, it guarantees you absolutely nothing.

When it comes to the arms and shoulders and such of pitchers, we still know next to nothing beyond "Man, they sure do break a lot."

Ole PBN said...

Not that its worth trading for a SS - but I have serious worries about TT returning to form. A wrist injury derails a season, even when the player is "healthy" enough to return to the lineup. A significant decrease in bat control spells bad news for Trea unfortunately.

ssln said...

Total hysteria--that is the only way to characterize your post today, First, you say we will win the division but we should consider a shortstop if the price is right. Turner should be back five weeks before the season is over which is more than enough to get back into form.
The Nats can't fix every flaw you perceive nor should they try. They don't need to be perfect to win the series. I said two weeks ago that they would go after Wilson of the Tigers and Hand. That would fix their most glaring needs. My guess is they can get Wilson but don't have enough chips to get Hand. It will be interesting to see who Rizzo comes up with as a set up man. My guess is that he will bring up Jackson and give him a try.
As to what you give up. Robles and Fedde are off the table. Everyone else is a possibility if you can get what you need.
Try and exhale. You will live longer.

Alan Wiecking said...

Not that he ever doesn't, but Max looks a little locked in out there in the bullpen. Do they let him strike out 9 AL batters.....or just 6? A little bit o' homerism!

Let's go Nats!

Fries said...

I loved the grunting out of Max on each pitch. Dude's certifiable on the mound

Anonymous said...

After having to suffer through several seasons of watching a completely irrelevant team play, I'll take a flawed contender any day. No "win now" trades please!