The deadline approaches

The rumors continue to swirl throughout the day as the clock ticks down on tomorrow’s trade deadline, which now sits a little less than 25 hours away.

The new bit of news around the majors is that the Phillies are seriously entertaining trade offers for starter Cliff Lee, who has struggled this season and has just a single win and a 3.95 ERA.

Lee hasn’t been at his best this season and still has three additional years and $87.5 million left on his contract. Still, if you had told me before the season that the Phils would be shopping the lefty, who won the AL Cy Young Award in 2008 and pitched to a 2.40 ERA last season, I’d have thought you were absolutely insane.

Combine the Lee talks with the rumors around Hunter Pence, Shane Victorino, Joe Blanton, Juan Pierre and Ty Wigginton, and the Phillies could look like a very different team when they take the field at Nats Park tomorrow night.

As expected, the Nationals remain quiet on the trade front. They won’t look for a rental starting pitcher, one which would cost top prospects and net the Nats just a couple months of service.

They won’t look for a starting position player, believing they’re set in the outfield once Jayson Werth returns and feeling comfortable with their infield when Ian Desmond is back from an oblique injury.

General manager Mike Rizzo has poked around for some more experienced depth at catcher, with Jesus Flores struggling offensively and having taken a beating this season. The Nats have also inquired about possible reserve middle infielders, although they’re comfortable with Mark DeRosa backing up Danny Espinosa and Steve Lombardozzi until Desmond is back healthy.

We could see a flurry of moves involving big names through tonight and into tomorrow, but don’t expect to see the Nationals in on any of those deals. They’re plenty confident with what they’ve got and who they have ready to return from the disabled list.

One thing that’s important to point out, however, is that the trade deadline doesn’t necessarily mean the Nats couldn’t still make a move of some kind after 4 p.m. tomorrow.

Once tomorrow’s deadline passes, teams can still trade players that have passed through revocable waivers. Large-scale trades after the non-waiver deadline are rare because big name players rarely clear waivers unless their contracts are exorbitant, but it’s entirely possible the Nats could still tweak their roster by adding outside players even after 4 p.m. tomorrow.

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