Jhonatan Solano will join the Nats in Kansas City and become the new backup catcher to Wilson Ramos.
What a wacky road trip this has already been for the Nationals.
Three rain delays in seven days, including one that lasted a full two hours yesterday. Two games in a span of six days that lasted at least 13 innings - their two longest games of the season. Seeing their ace ejected just seven pitches into his second inning of work during one of those games and then needing their bullpen to deliver 14 innings. A career-long starter getting a save ... and then getting a win in a game he started three days later.
The Nats blew two ninth-inning leads, then went on to win both games. They claimed David DeJesus off waivers. Then they put him back on waivers. Then DeJesus was claimed by the Rays. Now he’s in limbo again.
Then late last night (after I had decided to try and catch up on some sleep), the Nats shipped Suzuki back to Oakland, the same team from which they had acquired him around this time last year.
Despite where the Nats are in the standings, we certainly haven’t lacked interesting storylines over the last week. At least we’ve got that going for us.
The Suzuki trade seems to have upset a large portion of the Nationals’ fan base, and I understand why. Suzuki was a popular guy both inside the clubhouse and outside of it, a player who constantly had a smile on his face, was accommodating to interview requests and made time for fans.
He also provided a capable, veteran presence behind Ramos, who has been tremendous when on the field this season, but has had trouble staying on the field due to injuries.
At the same time, this is the type of move that teams make when they’re out of contention late in August.
The Nats still hold out hope that they can go on a run and make a remarkable push for the playoffs, but the odds are very much against them there (1.1 percent, according to Baseball Prospectus). Trading Suzuki not only gets the Nats a pitching prospect, but it sheds a portion of Suzuki’s salary for 2013 (reportedly around $675,000) as well as the $650,000 that it would have cost to buy out Suzuki’s team option this offseason.
That’s money that theoretically can go towards trying to improve the roster for next season.
The same can be said for DeJesus. The Nats like the left-handed-hitting outfielder, both for his defensive versatility and offensive skills as well as his veteran presence in the clubhouse. But they put DeJesus back on revocable trade waivers to see what interest there was in the 33-year-old from other teams. It appears the Rays have some, and we might find out today that DeJesus is now heading to St. Petersburg.
If you’re not making the playoffs this season, and it looks like the Nats are not, you improve your chances of doing so for future seasons. That might mean saying goodbye to some well-liked and talented players. But that’s what Mike Rizzo feels he needs to do with 35 games remaining and the Nats still 9 1/2 games out of the final National League wild card spot.