Why didn’t the Nationals make a trade of some kind prior to today’s 4 p.m. no-waiver deadline?
The reasoning is simple. They didn’t feel they needed to.
General manager Mike Rizzo held discussions with a number of teams over the last couple weeks, and there were a couple times that negotiations ramped up a bit. But at no point did Rizzo feel a deal was “imminent.” He didn’t see any major holes on his roster, and thus didn’t force a trade of some kind.
“It’s not about complacency, but it’s about making good, sound decisions, not taking the short route with rental players that could affect us long-term,” Rizzo said. “We feel we’re in position to play meaningful games this September and beyond, and there wasn’t a whole lot of necessity to make a deal.
“If there was something that needed to be done, we would’ve done it. But we felt, at this point, comfortable where we’re at. We like the team we have, and we didn’t see the need to make a big splash.”
Manager Davey Johnson has said all along that he hoped the Nats wouldn’t make a move of some kind before the deadline. He stuck with that message today.
“I never thought we were going to do anything,” Johnson said. “I like this ballclub, and it’s functioning well.”
Seeing as how the Nationals entered today’s action with the best record in the majors, it’s possible that a major move could have either shaken up the positive chemistry in the Nats’ clubhouse or somehow negatively affected the dynamic with the team.
The Nats won’t have to worry about that happening.
“The lack of a move could be taken in that clubhouse in the way of, ‘Well, we do have enough here. They believe we have enough, we believe we have enough, and we didn’t need to go out and make a big splash of a deal because we have our pieces in place,’ ” Rizzo said.
“We made all of our splashes this winter in putting together and constructing this roster the way we have it right now. We’ve got a guy named Jayson Werth who’s going to come back in the very near future and that’ll be like a trade deadline trade, and we’ll get (Ian) Desmond back and finally have our full complement of players and be able to go forward from there.”
A number of the Nationals’ competitors in the National League (the Braves, Giants, Dodgers and Reds, to name a few) made trades within the last 24 hours to bolster their rosters for a playoff push. Rizzo said in no way did any of those moves make the Nats feel they had to counter with a trade of their own.
“We don’t make our decisions (based) upon what other teams are doing just to kind of keep up with the Joneses,” Rizzo said. “We’ve got a plan and a vision in place, and we’ve stuck with it and will continue to do so. That’s how we made our decisions through this trade deadline.”
Even though Stephen Strasburg will be shut down, likely sometime in early September, Rizzo reiterated that the Nationals weren’t interested in finding a “rental” starter for the rest of the season. They’ll instead rely on the guys they have within the organization to fill in once Strasburg is shut down, namely John Lannan and Chien-Ming Wang.
“As I’ve said before, if we could’ve made a deal that greatly upgraded us or impacted us for the long-term, we certainly would’ve made it,” Rizzo said. “We couldn’t do that, so the deals that we didn’t make, we feel that we have a better in-house solution than going out and making a trade for the players that were available.”