Jul 27, 2015, 4:08 PM EDT
Trade deadline – The 2015 non-waiver trade deadline is coming up at 4 p.m. on Friday and already the Nationals have found themselves in the middle of all types of rumors. The common trends for the Nats in particular seem to be bench help – specifically in the outfield – and late-inning relief pitching.
The question seems to be whether the Nationals want to go big and bring in a top shelf closer like Aroldis Chapman, Craig Kimbrel or Jonathan Papelbon, or not. All three have been linked to the Nats and all three are stars at their position under team control beyond 2015.
Mike Rizzo has never made a trade deadline deal to bring in a player of that caliber. His trade for Asdrubal Cabrera in 2014 was out of character, as Cabrera was essentially a two-month rental. The Nationals usually stand pat at the deadline and make their moves in August by way of the waiver wire.
But circumstances convinced them to go for Cabrera last season and the same could be the case this year with their bullpen. Injuries forced their hand in 2014 and Cabrera proved to be a smart addition for the stretch run.
The Nationals have shown they are serious about going all-in this season by keeping impending free agents like Ian Desmond, Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister and Denard Span on the roster, rather than trade them for future assets. To have their bullpen hold them back in October given all that is on the line would be unfortunate.
On paper, the Nationals have a few things going for them regarding their bullpen. But, all in all, many things have not gone as planned. The effects of Craig Stammen’s injury are still being felt, Tanner Roark is going through the worst stretch of his career, Aaron Barrett and Blake Treinen have not been what they were last year and many of their rookies have been victims of their own inexperience. Even David Carpenter is injured right now and not progressing through his rehab as they initially hoped.
There’s no question the Nationals could use something more in their bullpen. Will it require bringing in a perennial All-Star like Chapman or Kimbrel? We’ll find out this week.
Injury updates – Anthony Rendon is back, but there are plenty of players still on the mend that will make more progress this week. Stephen Strasburg will begin his minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Syracuse on Wednesday, the Chiefs announced Monday afternoon. Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth are also likely to return this week, possibly in time to face the Miami Marlins.
Zimmerman has played in five games for the Double-A Harrisburg Senators, but has just one hit in 15 at-bats. The good news is that Matt Williams told reporters in Pittsburgh over the weekend that Zimmerman (plantar fasciitis) has felt fine physically.
Werth (left wrist) has played in nine games on his minor league rehab assignment. He has been much better with 11 hits, two doubles, two walks and seven RBI across 30 at-bats. He began his rehab games with Single-A Potomac, but has played his last six with Syracuse.
Carpenter and Denard Span are the other two big names on the disabled list. We’ll likely get more on them when Williams addresses the media on Tuesday.
NL East Standings
Offensive game of the week: Michael Taylor 7/25 vs. Pirates – 4-for-5, HR, 3 RBI, R, SB.
Pitching game of the week: Joe Ross 7/21 vs. Mets – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 R, 4 H, 0 BB, 4 SO. 88 pitches, 59 strikes.
Quote of the week:
Desmond on receiving advice from Cal Ripken, Jr.:
It’s funny, the other day I was walking to the park and Cal Ripken was out there signing autographs in the parking lot. He kind of grabbed me and said ‘you know, back in ’93 through the first 80 games I was hitting .199 and I finished with a pretty good year. You’re going to be alright.’ That kind of gave me a little bit of hope. Alright, if he did it and grinded through it, then I can too. That’s kind of the mentality I already had, but it’s nice to have that reassurance. You never know where it’s going to come from or who is going to be the person that lifts you up. You’ve gotta keep your ears and eyes open all the time.
Tweet of the week:
Feeling pretty good I must say #glorytogod
— Denard Span (@thisisdspan) July 26, 2015
MON – OFF
TUE – 7:10 p.m. at Miami Marlins (Zimmermann)
WED – 7:10 p.m. at Miami Marlins (Fister)
THU – 12:10 p.m. at Miami Marlins (Scherzer)
FRI – 7:10 p.m. at New York Mets (Gonzalez)
SAT – 7:10 p.m. at New York Mets (Ross)
SUN – 8:00 p.m. at New York Mets (Zimmermann)
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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