Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo met with reporters a few minutes ago to explain the team's trade for Reds outfielder Jonny Gomes. Essentially, the thinking is this: The Nationals need a right-handed bat off the bench with some power. The fact that Gomes could be a Type B free agent after the year helped raise the Nationals' interest level. And they were able to deal low-ranking prospects to get him.
It's by no means a game-changing move, but it could fill a need on the Nationals' bench, with a nice carrot attached at the end of the year.
"He's an experienced right-handed hitter who really has great success against left-handed pitching," Rizzo said. "He's hit 18 to 20 homers the last couple years. He's a presence on the bench, he's a presence in the lineup."
Gomes, who has a career .886 OPS against lefties, was on the Nationals' list of possible reserve outfielders, and Rizzo said he called Reds GM Walt Jocketty about a deal. The Nationals gave up 26-year-old outfielder Bill Rhinehart and 22-year-old left-handed reliever Chris Manno.
After this season, Gomes will be a free agent, and if he leaves after the season following an arbitration offer from the Nationals, they'd get a compensation pick for him. So essentially, they could have traded two middling prospects for a high draft pick.
"That's always a plan when we talk about acquiring players," Rizzo said. "You get the added benefit of a B compensation pick, which could translate into a nice solid draft pick for us."
The Nationals will add Gomes to the roster tomorrow, and make a move to clear a spot for him tomorrow.
As for the rest of the week leading up to the trade deadline, Rizzo said the Nationals could be "both buyers and sellers." That's not any kind of departure from what he's said all along; the team is looking for young, controllable players, and could pursue an outfielder while unloading a veteran pitcher for a prospect.
"If it fits us long-term, we'll be all ears and interested," Rizzo said.
And as he said that, his cell phone rang.
"The name popped up (on the caller ID), too," Rizzo said. "You guys missed it."