Looking at the Nationals public posture was all you needed to do, it turned out, in the run-up to the trade deadline. As far back as a week or so ago, manager Davey Johnson had said that the team was in good stead, and compared favorably to the 1986 Mets team that Johnson managed to a World Series trophy. It’s hard to blame the Nationals for refusing to engage in deadline brinksmanship when they’ve had such a successful season. Currently, the squad possesses the best record in baseball after 101 games, and will likely be piling on in the coming weeks as they face depleted squads from Philadelphia and Miami for a home stand.
Moreover, it’s hard to see what they were supposed to move for. Geovany Soto, a veteran catcher? Sure, that’s possible, but the Nationals don’t have the AA pitcher to spare for the Rangers to help them fill out their minor league pitching roster as it stands. Marco Scutaro, to give them another infield option? It doesn’t make sense for the Nationals to pay cash – and another infield prospect – when they’ve got some solid options available to them at the current.
As it stands, the armchair GMs of Washington may be grousing casually, but I think all you should do is point at the standings, and the return of Jayson Werth this week, as well as Chad Tracy today, as worth standing up for, especially when there was a paucity of good trade options that would benefit the Nationals in the long term as opposed to serving as a rental agreement for talent that the team just isn’t that desperate for at the time.
There are times to be buyers, and times to be sellers, but both of those depend on the time and price being right. This time, it wasn’t.