The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Talent-rich Nats don’t need a thing
TUESDAY IS Major League Baseball’s trading deadline, and a number of teams are scrambling for good players to help them down the stretch run.
Washington is not. The Nationals are in the enviable position of being overstocked with good players. It is a situation you seldom see in this free-agent era.
In May, I wrote a column saying that Washington had great pitching but couldn’t hit. The Nats, except for mini-slumps, have turned that around.
I said they needed another power hitter and they found one in their farm system in Tyler Moore. He has given Washington several boosts and is going to be a good one.
The Nats have gotten rid of Rick Ankiel, as I predicted they would, but they still have an abundance of good outfielders. Moore, Corey Brown, Bryce Harper, Roger Bernadina and Michael Morse are solid ballplayers.
Mark DeRosa and Steve Lombardozzi can play either the outfield or infield, which gives manager Dave Johnson great flexibility.
So what does Washington do when Jayson Werth comes back, maybe as early as this weekend?
Werth has a $120 million contract, so Johnson is almost obligated to play him. But how do you change the lineup of a team that has the best record in the National League?
What about Chad Tracy? Who do you cut to get him back on the roster? He had some clutch hits for the Nats before he was injured and, like Lombardozzi and DeRosa, can play both the infield and the outfield.
With Lombardozzi and DeRosa, there is infield depth, even if shortstop Ian Desmond stays on the disabled list for more than 15 days. Ryan Zimmerman, Danny Espinosa and Adam LaRoche are proven quantities, and Morse can play first base if needed.
Washington does not have a top-flight catcher, but Jesus Flores, Sandy Leon and Jhonathan Solano can all do the job. No help is needed there.
As for pitching, well, the Nationals have without question the best staff in baseball. How good are they? Well, all the starters and some of the relievers will probably be pitching with the Yankees when they become free agents.
In fact, the Nats are so stocked with starters that John Lannan has been at Triple-A most of the season. Zach Duke is also having a fine year down on the farm, and both could be trade bait if Washington needed to make a move.
But the Nats don’t. They don’t even need to trade for minor league prospects because their farm system is overloaded with talent.
Even the big club is stocked with talented youth. Harper, Lombardozzi, Brown, Moore, Leon and Solano are all rookies, and the Washington pitching staff is one of the youngest in baseball.
The Nats do not need to make any moves before the trading deadline—or maybe for the next five years, for that matter. This is an exceptional ball club that could be a pennant contender for a decade.
“Pennant contender” and “Washington”: Did you ever think you would hear those three words in the same sentence? Not since Walter Johnson pitched for the old Senators has a team from the nation’s capital been this good.
But the Nationals seem to be a team of destiny, and only a major collapse will keep them out of the playoffs.
Several times the team could have folded, most recently when the Nats blew a 9–0 lead against Atlanta. Young players can lose their confidence in a hurry.
But it didn’t happen. Washington bounced back and continues to build its lead.
The chemistry is there. The team is not broken, so I hope no one tries to fix it with unnecessary moves.
Oh! I said Washington didn’t need any help. Let me correct that. They need new TV broadcasters.
Trade Bob Carpenter and F.P. Santangelo to Los Angeles for Vin Scully and a broken bat to be named later.
Or maybe just the broken bat.
I love to watch Washington play—especially when I turn the TV on mute.