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2nd half storylines: The trade deadline

Jul 12, 2012, 5:00 PM EDT

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Mike Rizzo will be making and receiving plenty of calls over the next 2 1/2 weeks.

The Nationals open tomorrow what promises to be the most compelling second half to a season since the franchise arrived in town in 2005, owners of the NL's best record but saddled with several major questions that need to be answered.

Today we're counting down the five most significant storylines to the remainder of the Nationals' season. Next up is storyline No. 3: Whether GM Mike Rizzo tries to bolster his roster before the July 31 trade deadline…

The Nationals have frequently been active around the trade deadline. They've just usually spent late July trying to move veterans to contending clubs in exchange for prospects.

Not so this summer. For the first time in seven years, they have no interest in selling at the July 31 deadline. But do they have interest inRead more »

  1. MicheleS - Jul 12, 2012 at 5:07 PM

    Well, if they don't do anything, Davey will spin so that guys believe that the FO said we are confident with what we have and we are going to win.

  2. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 12, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    I agree it is hard to see any room for addition with couple of players returning soon. Only do the deal if we get a SP for cheap, very cheap.

  3. NatsLady - Jul 12, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    In September they can bring up Lannan (or Maya, for that matter). But I wouldn't count too much on those September off-days because it has been known to rain in July and August… Luckily, with the new CBA you can bring up a guy for a double-header, so if Mattheus goes down, you can bring him (or Lannan) up depending on whether you need a starter or a reliever.

  4. NatsLady - Jul 12, 2012 at 5:20 PM

    Still, I would feel safer with another arm, because we have been pretty lucky with no injuries in the rotation.

  5. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 12, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    and very unlucky with injuries to our lineup so I think that evens it out, hopefully and we don't have to use Nats and injuries in the same sentence again.

  6. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 12, 2012 at 5:23 PM

    I have to agree with Mark Z. No glaring holes except leadoff. Werth with his high OBP and ability to see many pitches could be the answer at leadoff.Lombo can get time at 2nd. TyMo goes to the benching can play some 1st and LF.Biggest hole is post-season without Strasburg. Wandy as a cash dump makes sense and he becomes the post-season #3 or #4 depending in what EJax does.Main thing is EJax has to step up. Rizzo didn't spend all of that money for a #3 pitcher who just happened to be seeded in the 4 spot. He spent it thinking he could make him a #2.

  7. Firm Possession, My Gorsehacken Sofa - Jul 12, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    Consider, also, since we're thinking playoffs, the August 31 roster deadline. That's when the rotation will be set (barring injury, or "injury").

  8. Tcostant - Jul 12, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    While not deal one of those spare RP for a prospect?

  9. MikeinDC - Jul 12, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    If they go after anyone, I'd expect it to be a veteran catcher. But none comes to mind. I love this team and willing to sink or swim with the guys already on the squad.

  10. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jul 12, 2012 at 5:32 PM

    Please, please just say no to Yunesky Maya.I'd play the Matt Chico card before that one.

  11. Water23 - Jul 12, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    The best deals for the Nats at the deadline are for Greinke and Hamels to be moved. I think that would remove the penalty from signing them in the Off-season. Mark, Any update on the Giolito signing? The Nats are up against the deadline.

  12. NatsLady - Jul 12, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    High heat stats put out the following:…Consecutive games allowing 2 runs or less: 6, Seattle. (They split.)… allowing 3 or less: 9, St. Louis.… scoring 5 or more: 9 … Washington? (Put a silver bullet next to that one.)first-half-games-feats-and-odditieshttp://www.highheatstats.com/2012/07/first-half-games-feats-and-oddities/#more-4886

  13. Water23 - Jul 12, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    Just a question, Would the Nats consider trading Werth for Crawford?

  14. NatsLady - Jul 12, 2012 at 5:43 PM

    Tcostant==> my sentiments exactly. Or a 2-month rental for a backup catcher or a Miss Iowa type. Oh, BTW, Batista will be in the Mets rotation now.

  15. JamesHoy - Jul 12, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    What kind of bench help might be available? Nady and DeRosa don't give me the warm fuzzies. I'd love to have some old dude looking for a final run to the Series sitting on the bench, making 10 starts, imparting some knowledge and a few timely hits. Something like the Bruins did with Ray Bourque a few years back… Someone like Chipper Jones, but who we'd have a realistic chance to acquire?

  16. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 12, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    Water, probably not.

  17. NatsLady - Jul 12, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    Water, I wouldn't. Someone said, they are going to need Jayson, not only on-field, but to calm the jitters our kids don't even realize they have. (I like Davey also… been there, done that.) Luckily, the Nats' early success has already led to national TV exposure, and there was that spanking from the NYY's which will not be forgotten. Bryce at the All-Star game was all good, take off the gold cleats and get back to work now.

  18. A DC Wonk - Jul 12, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    Any update on the Giolito signing? The Nats are up against the deadline.It's still early. They have till 5pm tomorrow! ;-)Here's NJ's take on it:http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/nationals-journal/post/lucas-giolito-nationals-going-down-to-the-draft-signing-deadline/2012/07/12/gJQAbcrmfW_blog.htmlHere one from MLB.com noting that there are still six first-rounders (five of them pitchers) who are still unsigned:http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120711&content_id=34843532&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb

  19. Firm Possession, My Gorsehacken Sofa - Jul 12, 2012 at 5:52 PM

    Why would Boston do that?

  20. NatsLady - Jul 12, 2012 at 5:53 PM

    Just saw this tweet.Adam Kilgore ‏@AdamKilgoreWPDrew Storen not expected to be activated right out of the gate in the second half. He's close, but Nats want him to get more work in minors.

  21. Firm Possession, My Gorsehacken Sofa - Jul 12, 2012 at 5:58 PM

    Sleep faster, we need the pillows said…More work in the minors? At his current rate of 8 pitches an inning, he'll take all month! Maybe they should let him start just to get it over with.

  22. A DC Wonk - Jul 12, 2012 at 6:03 PM

    More work in the minors? At his current rate of 8 pitches an inning, he'll take all month! Maybe they should let him start just to get it over with. If I recall, they _did_ let him start! He only pitched the first inning.(Am I remembering this right?)

  23. peric - Jul 12, 2012 at 6:06 PM

    If they go after anyone, I'd expect it to be a veteran catcher. But none comes to mind. I love this team and willing to sink or swim with the guys already on the squad.They've already got one. His name is Koyie Hill. He's a great defensive catcher and excellent with pitcher and he doesn't weigh 290 pounds like Maldonado. The gotcha is he can't hit due to almost losing three fingers on his throwing hand to a table saw. But he is as good as it gets if a veteran catcher is needed and that is why they signed him to put him in Syracuse. And why he came on board.

  24. peric - Jul 12, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    Just a question, Would the Nats consider trading Werth for Crawford?Not even worth a discussion. A Sofa said Boston would not even consider it due to Werth's contract.

  25. Theophilus T. S. - Jul 12, 2012 at 6:13 PM

    Agree the Nats don't need any major acquisitions. The trade deadline, now or the waiver-trade deadline in August, should be an opportunity to get rid of junk/redundancies like H. Rodriguez and M. Gonzalez, maybe Nady, DeRosa if there's someone out there that thinks they need a PH. It's better to get something — even if it isn't much — for something, rather than nothing for something, so get rid of these guys now if there's anyone that will take them off our hands before the Nats have to purge their roster and get nothing in return.There's nothing reasonably priced out there right now that would be worth shaking up the "best 25" players in the system. Even a "veteran catcher." What veteran catcher likely to be traded by the deadline would be worth making room for on the roster? Don't want any.

  26. Water23 - Jul 12, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    Firm, Maybe the get a SP Lannan etc. Not a serious discussion but a thought. Also, I do not see the Nats making a deal to improve Major League roster but since Zach Duke is doing nicely maybe the finally move Lannan for a AA prospect.

  27. peric - Jul 12, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    I expect they want to see Storen get his velocity up. PLUS, who do you replace him with? Mattheus? Mattheus has been doing the job, as has Burnet in setup. Michael Gonzalez a lefty? You wouldn't use Storen as a long man but Stammen is another possibility. And NO they aren't going to part with Gorzelanny or H-Rod short of trade people! C'mon now!

  28. Theophilus T. S. - Jul 12, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    Everyone knows about Mordecai "Three-Finger" Brown. But how does a two-fingered catcher throw anybody out?

  29. Water23 - Jul 12, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    Wonk,I have seen those all before but was hoping Mark would have some additional info. 5 PM will come up quick tomorrow. Hope he signs.

  30. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 12, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    NatsLady, glad to hear it on Storen. I wasn't sure if he had enough work in. I guess Rizzo thinks he hasn't.

  31. Theophilus T. S. - Jul 12, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    What inducements can the Nats offer Giolito except money? A private room at Motel 6 on the road in the minors? A personal, extra wide seat on the bus? Guaranteed invitations to Major League camp?

  32. Firm Possession, My Gorsehacken Sofa - Jul 12, 2012 at 6:30 PM

    Water, I was actually asking, not rhetorically, what you thought Boston might want to do that for; your answer, if I got it right, is, it's not straight up: Werth + Lannan for Crawford, for instance. I think they still hang up on Rizzo, but OK. And Rizzo plays his cards close to the vest, and seldom negotiates in public, so it would be a surprise (or a leak that gets somebody fired) if there were any real news before they actually do a deal (which I think they will).

  33. Firm Possession, My Gorsehacken Sofa - Jul 12, 2012 at 6:33 PM

    What inducements can the Nats offer Giolito except money?I think the new rules are fairly restrictive on that stuff. I think they are no longer allowed to get gold shoes.

  34. Firm Possession, My Gorsehacken Sofa - Jul 12, 2012 at 6:35 PM

    And Rizzo plays his cards close to the vest,OK, that was supposed to be about Giolito. Confuscating.

  35. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 12, 2012 at 6:37 PM

    Sofa, over the winter Rizzo perfectly described Buehrle as his target and Ladson tried to convince us someone else was really the target.Up to that point, Rizzo has done a good job of conceal & decept.

  36. JaneB - Jul 12, 2012 at 6:47 PM

    Posted in another thread….but I am realizing that, as soon as Storen returns to form,we have two closers who are terrific and they may deal one away so they can both do what that they want, and what they do, and what is most valuable in general. Clipp was so valuable as set up man, and valuable now. Far, far more often than not, he'd get guys out before runs scored, even if some were standing on base along the way. I had no idea about our non-hitting catcher. Does he literally never hit? How does that work?I say we stick with these guys and see how things go. Not because I want them all to be eligible to play in October, but because I don't see how we can do better NOW except with rentals. We already have a rental in Edwin, really.

  37. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 12, 2012 at 6:55 PM

    Supposedly the Marlins have stopped negotiations with their 1st rounder Andrew Heaney

  38. Sean Hogan - Jul 12, 2012 at 7:15 PM

    I find it unsurprising that the Marlins are willing to lose Heaney. He's a decent prospect, but doesn't have high upside. They'd be just as well off with the compensation pick next year if they lost him. Losing top picks doesn't always work out as well as Aaron Crow – Drew Storen, but I've never thought Heaney to be that great of a prospect in the first place.My thoughts on a few prospects that the Nats might deal at the deadline (not necessarily ones they should deal): http://dcisforbaseball.blogspot.com/2012/07/cupboard-isnt-bare-for-nats-at-trade.html

  39. sjm308 - Jul 12, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    Only catcher I can think of is Kelly Stoppach (pretty sure I spelled that wrong)' and i am not sure he is better thanPeric's choice. Also not sure what the red sox would want in return.

  40. Tcostant - Jul 12, 2012 at 7:36 PM

    I'm glad Storen has to wait. He needs to go on back to back days, before he is ready for the a majors. I'm just saying…

  41. Sean Hogan - Jul 12, 2012 at 7:45 PM

    Don't think Koyie Hill is the answer. While he's a defensive improvement over Jesus Flores, he is still just about league average behind the plate and is awful with the bat. Shoppach could be made available with Lavarnway ready (or ready enough). He probably wouldn't cost too too much considering how bad he has been for the last 2 years but also wouldn't be that big of an upgrade.

  42. mick - Jul 12, 2012 at 7:47 PM

    The only disagreement have with Mark is about catcher… we do not need help, with Fores and Solano, I see no issue, also, is not Leon coiming back as well

  43. mick - Jul 12, 2012 at 7:51 PM

    I would think that a Dempster or Greinke would be more likely to choose the Nats first if they really wanted to be traded. I would not give up ANY starters though

  44. mick - Jul 12, 2012 at 7:52 PM

    chemistry is vital and with that perhaps the Natsstand pat with what they have and go for it!

  45. NatsLady - Jul 12, 2012 at 7:54 PM

    Here is Klaw from today's chat on Giolito:I think he's about 90% to sign. He'd be somewhere toward the back of the top 50 – but that's discounting him for the injury. If he were fully healthy, he'd be in the top 20, but he'd also be negotiating with someone other than Washington, too.

  46. mick - Jul 12, 2012 at 7:58 PM

    Nats Lady …"the kraw not the klaw" lol

  47. Theophilus T. S. - Jul 12, 2012 at 8:02 PM

    Giolito oughta be scared out of his pants that he goes back in the draft and gets picked next year by the Rockies.

  48. The Fox - Jul 12, 2012 at 8:04 PM

    Miguel Olivo can probably be had cheap. He still has a strong arm and is a good reciever but not so good with the bat. Infact it is almost impossible to walk him and his batting avg is .201 so you would only be getting him for his vetren recieving skills. Seattle has 2 young catchers so unless someone else wants him a very low prospect would probably get him.

  49. Theophilus T. S. - Jul 12, 2012 at 8:04 PM

    Probably wouldn't happen. Rockies wouldn't waste either the pick or the money on a pitcher. But San Diego, Seattle, Cubs, Twins aren't very close to a pennant, either.

  50. #4 - Jul 12, 2012 at 8:05 PM

    I think the Nats could have both Clippard and Storen long-term. They don't both need to close. They both just need to be paid like closers. It'll be interesting to see if the Nats are willing to do that. Additionally both are under team control for a while so shouldn't cost them big bucks in the relative short term.

  51. Theophilus T. S. - Jul 12, 2012 at 8:09 PM

    Assume Solano regresses and, combined, he and Leon hit .182 for the remainder of the year. How is it better to give up a prospect of any kind for a guy who'll walk at the end of the year after hitting .201?

  52. Firm Possession, My Gorsehacken Sofa - Jul 12, 2012 at 8:17 PM

    Sofa, over the winter Rizzo perfectly described Buehrle as his target and Ladson tried to convince us someone else was really the target. Up to that point, Rizzo has done a good job of conceal & decept.So you're saying he was not, in fact, serious about Buehrle, and just bidding the Marlins up?

  53. The Fox - Jul 12, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    Theo,You don't lose a game because of a passed ball or maybe even a wild pitch. Flores may be the most important player on the Nationals right now. I would hat to think what might happen if he got injuried. Having a catcher who knows your staff is also a plus.I’m old school, my catchers need to be good recievers first everything else is gravy. The prospect they give up would only be inventory.Yes it is a rental. Think of it as an insurance policy you hope you never need to use it.

  54. NatsLady - Jul 12, 2012 at 8:24 PM

    Klaw comment on Tommy Milone:You're a creation of the ballpark. On the road you're giving up a .307/.354/.535 line, including 14 of your 15 home runs allowed. Fringy stuff guys get murdered in neutral or hitters' parks because they can't stop the home runs.

  55. JD - Jul 12, 2012 at 8:41 PM

    NatsLady, I think KLaw is right on on both Giolito and Milone.

  56. JD - Jul 12, 2012 at 8:44 PM

    There's a lot to catching I don't really understand and don't know how to judge. How good of a game do you call? how good are you at managing a pitcher who is missing his spots? how good are you at managing a pitcher who doesn't have a given pitch on a given day? how well do you control the running game? how well do you frame the pitches? I don't know if Solano is any good at any or all of these items but I know that Davie doesn't think enough of him yet to play him more than once a week.

  57. T-Rex - Jul 12, 2012 at 8:45 PM

    Water, others have beat me to this, but Werth is not tradable. Not now, not ever. Well, unless he's batting .300 with some power in the last year of his contract at the trade deadline. And then maybe you could get a couple of guys from AAA.

  58. JD - Jul 12, 2012 at 8:46 PM

    I think it's tough to consider Koyee Hill because he's almost an automatic out. I think you have to hit a little bit better than that even to be a backup.

  59. JD - Jul 12, 2012 at 8:48 PM

    T-Rex, The only way Werth is tradable is if you take back a bad contract like Vernon Wells or Alex Rios or Soriano.

  60. The Fox - Jul 12, 2012 at 8:53 PM

    NatsLady,Part of the worry when we got Gio was that his numbers were so good because he got to pitch in Oakland where HR's are hard to come by. Gio's splits were much better than Milone's but you would have though he would still give up a few more HRs with the Nats. As it turned out Gio has gotten even better or raise his game and he is very stingy with the longball. As for Giolito I read somewhere that if he does sign with UCLA he cannot reenter the draft next year he would have to wait a year and becaue of that the UCLA threat is probably not a valid one. If I had to guess if he does not sign on Friday he will play with a Texas league team like Crow did and reenter the draft next year.

  61. NatsFan05 - Jul 12, 2012 at 10:51 PM

    I'm not sure if this wasn't allready posted."12 Reasons Lucas Giolito Will Be a Washington Nationals Superstar"http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1205877-12-reasons-lucas-giolito-will-be-a-washington-nationals-superstar#/articles/1205877-12-reasons-lucas-giolito-will-be-a-washington-nationals-superstar

  62. Tim - Jul 12, 2012 at 11:47 PM

    Mark… Sorry to jump in late, I'm wondering about that roster spot when Storen comes back. Why not send down MPHRod? Is he out of options? If not, he would be the likely candidate so he can get his mechanics refined (and maybe work on the mental part of the game a bit, too). If he's out of options, then it's probably Matheus.

  63. Firm Possession, My Gorsehacken Sofa - Jul 13, 2012 at 12:29 AM

    As for Giolito I read somewhere that if he does sign with UCLA he cannot reenter the draft next year he would have to wait a year and becaue of that the UCLA threat is probably not a valid one. If he attends a four-year college, he becomes ineligible for the draft until his junior year, or he turns 21. He's 17 now.

  64. Firm Possession, My Gorsehacken Sofa - Jul 13, 2012 at 12:32 AM

    Tim, Henry is indeed out of options this year, and would be snapped up on waivers if they tried. He ain't going noplace, people, you can quit asking.

  65. mick - Jul 13, 2012 at 12:38 AM

    does anyone here see a resurgence of Philly? I do not, the team that still scares me is Miami. I keep thinking Mets will fade and Braves can only play 500 the rest of the way.In Central, I still think Pirates fade and reds win it hands downWest, I think it will be all San Fran and Dodgers playing for a Wild card. Does wild Card go down among Dodgers, Marlins, Braves?

  66. mick - Jul 13, 2012 at 12:39 AM

    I know Giancarlo is out 6 weeks, but Ozzie's teams scare me

  67. mick - Jul 13, 2012 at 12:40 AM

    now watch… I just disrespected the Pirates and they will go on a roll, lol

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