The non-waiver trade deadline is now less than six hours away.
One blockbuster deadline-day deal has already come together today, as the Red Sox have sent Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes to the Athletics for Yoenis Cespedes.
Yeah, if that deal doesn’t get you excited, I’ve got nothing for you. Just a monster trade put together by the Sox and A’s, and luckily for the Nationals, Lester ends up in the American League, and not slotted into the Dodgers’ or Brewers’ rotation, two National League teams who had been linked to the left-handed ace.
The A’s are going all-in this year and now have a dynamite playoff rotation lined up that features Lester, Sonny Gray, Jeff Samardzija and Scott Kazmir.
Billy Beane is pushing all his chips to the center of the table.
That’s a strategy that Nats GM Mike Rizzo has shied away from the last couple of seasons, and appears unlikely to adopt yet again.
The Nats could certainly look to bring in a big-name infielder or a power arm to add depth to their bullpen, which has had some hiccups of late. But Rizzo has shown in the past that he’s not willing to do damage to his plan for future seasons just to make a deadline splash.
Davey Johnson used to say that he managed today with an eye on tomorrow, and that’s the way that Rizzo approaches the trade deadline. He’ll make a move that he feels will benefit his team, but takes a multi-year view of things when determining how to bolster his roster.
Thus, Rizzo isn’t a fan of “rental” players, guys who force you to give up prospects and are only on your roster for a few months before hitting free agency.
There are players out there who could impact the Nats not only down the stretch, but for future seasons. Those players tend to be expensive, however, and possible unavailable altogether. Adrian Beltre would be an “impactful” addition (a word that Rizzo likes to use this time of year), but the Rangers have said they aren’t looking to deal Beltre. Chase Utley has no-trade protection because of his 10-5 rights, and the Phillies would likely be unwilling to deal him within the division, anyway.
That leaves the Nats looking at the second-tier of infield options. Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com has reported the Nats have interest in the Indians’ Asdrubal Cabrera and the Mets’ Daniel Murphy.
I’ve been thinking for days now that Murphy would be a good fit with the Nats - he’s still just 29, controllable past this year, plays a solid second base, and can hit. But would the Mets want to move him to an NL East team, and how much would it take to acquire him?
It would appear the more likely scenario is that the Nats add a reliever to fortify their bullpen and then see how things play out in the coming days and weeks. Doing so would allow the Nats to possibly send Aaron Barrett (who has struggled of late) back down to Triple-A to get some things ironed out and rest up a bit. Barrett has never handled a workload this significant as a pro, and the Nats could manage his innings carefully at Syracuse, then get him back in September, once rosters expand, for the stretch run.
Remember, this is only the non-waiver trade deadline. Players can still be dealt to the Nats after 4 p.m. today if they fall to the Nats through the revokable trade waiver process or they pass through waivers altogether.
Kurt Suzuki was added after the non-waiver trade deadline two years ago. David DeJesus was brought in for a very brief time in a post-non-waiver deadline deal last year.
We’ll see how things shake out. Rizzo is certainly racking up the cell phone minutes today, trying to make a deal, possibly one that could benefit the Nats not only for this year, but down the road, as well.