Washington Nationals Trade Rumors: Latest Updates, News and Reaction
The National League East is up for grabs this season, so the Washington Nationals will have to figure out whether they need to make a deal at the 2014 MLB trade deadline or whether they should go with what they have.
If you had told the Nationals that they would have to play two of the first three months without Bryce Harper, they probably wouldn't have been able to predict that they'd still be in position to win the NL East this season. However, that's the spot that they find themselves in right now.
How have they been able to stay in contention? Pitching.
The team's pitching staff is arguably the best in the majors. The Nationals' acquisition of Doug Fister in the offseason has paid off, and a handful of relievers are pitching out of their minds right now. A star-studded rotation and a dominant bullpen will keep a team in any game.
Washington has the makings of a championship-caliber team when healthy. When Harper is playing every day, the team will be able to figure out what it is made of.
Make sure to keep checking back here to see what rumors the Nationals are involved in or what deals the team makes as the MLB trade deadline approaches.
July 31: Acquired SS Asdrubal Cabrera from the Cleveland Indians
The Washington Nationals have acquired Asdrubal Cabrera from the Cleveland Indians, according to MLB.com's Jordan Bastian. WTAM 1100's Nick Camino reported that the Indians will receive shortstop Zach Walters.
Cabrera is hitting .249 with nine home runs, 22 doubles and two triples this season. The switch-hitter is typically good for 15 home runs and 25 doubles per season, and he can even use his feet to swipe about 10 bases per year.
The 28-year-old is a two-time All-Star and has won a Silver Slugger.
With Ryan Zimmerman hurt, the Nationals were in the market for an infielder. Cabrera is mainly a shortstop, but he has played second and third in his career. With Ian Desmond at shortstop, Cabrera will likely play second base with Anthony Rendon playing third.
Carbrera is signed through this season and will become a free agent this winter. Cleveland has Francisco Lindor waiting in the minors, so they were unlikely to re-sign Cabrera when his contract expires. Washington needed an infielder and wound up with one of the better ones on the market.
Potential Trade Target: 2B Daniel Murphy, New York Mets
Washington needs an infielder now that Ryan Zimmerman is hurt, and Murphy may be one of its best options—if he's available.
Murphy is hitting .292 with seven home runs and 30 doubles this season. His play this season was good enough to earn him a spot on the National League All-Star team for the first time.
The Mets have given no indication that they are looking to trade Murphy, and if they did decide to deal him, they may prefer to trade him outside of the division.
Murphy is under control through the 2015 season, and the Mets have reportedly discussed giving him an extension.
Nationals Contact Astros About Relievers
It's not known which reliever(s) the Nationals inquired about, but Tony Sipp appears to be one of the most logical candidates.
Sipp is 2-1 with a 2.37 ERA in 32 games this season. The southpaw is holding left-handed hitters to a ridiculous 0.98 average in 2014.
The Nationals have the third-ranked bullpen in all of baseball, so it's not a glaring need. However, the team may look to add a reliever before the deadline.
No Major Trades Expected out of Nationals
The Washington Nationals played much of the first half of the 2014 season without Bryce Harper, but they are in great position to make the postseason. Given their current situation, MLB.com's Bill Ladson reported that the Nationals are unlikely to make a significant move at this year's deadline.
Washington's offense ranks in the bottom half of the league in most notable categories. However, that could be explained by the team's injuries. The team has had to go without Harper, Adam LaRoche and Ryan Zimmerman at various points this season. Now that all three are healthy, the offense could start clicking.
On the mound, there aren't any weaknesses. The rotation is loaded with stars, and the bullpen is as good as any in the league.
This isn't a team that needs to make a major move in order to make the playoffs; it just needs to get healthy. The National League East has been weak this season. When Harper is in the lineup every day, the Nationals should be the team to beat in the division.
Potential Trade Candidate: LHP Ross Detwiler
Although the Washington Nationals aren't looking to deal Ross Detwiler, MLB.com's Bill Ladson reported that the team would listen to teams interested in the pitcher. However, the team would likely be selling low given his slow start and last season's back injury.
The 28-year-old has allowed 21 runs through his first 33 innings of the 2014 season. Right-handed batters have hit .311 off him this year, so that may be troubling for any interested team.
If any team is interested in trading for Detwiler, it would likely want to use him as a starter. This is the left-hander's first time being used mainly as a reliever. Entering this season, he had made 69 career starts and only 16 relief appearances. He has made 21 relief appearances this season.
Detwiler won 10 games and posted a 3.40 ERA in his first full season as a starter in 2012. Teams have to be impressed by that potential.
Washington's rotation is so loaded that there just isn't room for Detwiler. Should a team be willing to offer a fair trade for Detwiler, the Nationals will certainly listen. However, they are not looking to trade him.