Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

Nats Trade Candidates


As we get closer to the trade deadline, and it becomes increasingly clear that the 2021 version of the Nats just don’t have what it’s going to take to make a playoff run, GM Mike Rizzo should start working the phones, looking to trade every and all assets.

Starting with pending FAs.

Who are our pending free agent trade candidates?

Per the above Cots link, here’s our total FAs after 2021: Scherzer, Hand, Castro, Gomes, Hudson, Avila, Joe Ross (amazingly), Mercer, Avilan (who had TJ), Harrison, Zimmerman. Furthermore, Guys with 2022 options that can be declined include: Schwarber, Lester.

So, that’s a TON of expiring guys who could fetch prospects at the trade deadline if the team bails. Here’s quick categorization of each type of FA and their trade value:

  • Pending FAs who absolutely will fetch solid prospects: Scherzer, Hand, Hudson, Harrison.

Discussion: Parting ways with Scherzer should come with a discussion with him that basically says “go forth and attempt to pitch in the post season and we’ll be calling on Nov 5th.” He’s a 10-and-5 guy, The team should absolutely attempt to get him back for the remainder of his career, since I think he’s still got gas in the tank and I think he becomes the first Curly-W in Cooperstown. Hand = obvious: you don’t need a closer on a 4th place team. Same with Hudson, who just came back from the DL and has been throwing bullets. I love Harrison, I love the energy he brings, and perhaps a reunion after the off-season could be had, but for now, he can give us some prospects.

  • Pending FAs who are useful pieces who can fetch something of value: Lester

Discussion: Well, this list was a lot longer before a slate of injuries (and off-the-field issues) whittled it to just Lester. Lets be honest; all those who criticized the signing in the off-season at the expense of others … well you’re right. He has not been good. A 5.00 ERA in the NL is just bad. Does he actually have any value in trade? Maybe not. Maybe he belongs in the next group.

  • Pending FAs who have been awful or hurt and will barely fetch anything, if at all: Avila, Gomes, Ross, Mercer, Avilan, Schwarber, Castro.

Discussion: of course, given the Nats bad luck, it works out that most of our expiring contracts are sitting on the DL at the trade deadline and are likely worthless in trade. Avilan had TJ and is done. Ross has an oblique and was not quite league average this year. Mercer a replaceable veteran 2B/SS guy who would have to be healthy. Gomes would have been a useful trade piece; hurt. Castro may never play again for obvious reasons. That leaves Schwarber, who may be out for another month and who the team may be looking to re-up anyway.

Pending FAs who won’t be moved for obvious reasons: Zimmerman

Mr National can’t possibly go elsewhere can he?

So, maybe we can net a few assets, especially for Scherzer, who we’d obviously give a qualifying offer to and thus would be expecting a 1st-round calibre prospect in return.

Written by Todd Boss

July 24th, 2021 at 2:17 pm

Posted in Nats in General

87 Responses to 'Nats Trade Candidates'

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  1. Good stuff, Todd.
    Strasburg looking like he won’t pitch this year at all does change how the next few months look.
    I would love to have Scherzer finish his career here but he already put his house up for sale 6 months ago and he might want to go home to St. Louis.

    Hudson and Hand are the only other ones who will fetch anything.

    Mark L

    24 Jul 21 at 3:25 pm

  2. Well . . . yes, the Nats are 5-13 over their last 18 games. This certainly looks like a sinking ship. Therefore, the Nats certainly should at least field some phone calls.

    That said, folks like to get excited about all these great prospects we’re gonna get in return. Don’t hold your breath, though. Quick, who did the Nats give up to get Hudson? A 6th-round draft pick who was at the A+ level. Perhaps Hudson has raised his status a little since then, but not too much. We’d all like to think that we’ll be getting a Wilson Ramos type, but those types of lucky rolls are rare.

    Hand and Hudson would make the most sense to move. I think they would have to be blown away to trade Scherzer. They’ll listen, but I’m not expecting it. It would be a very sad day if he leaves. I’d also at least float Corbin, hoping someone would take that contract. Lester and Ross would have very little value. I’d see if anyone is interested in Fedde as well. He still hasn’t proven that he can be counted on as a regular rotation piece.

    Harrison? Well, the Nats gave the Phils an 18th-round pick for Kendrick. If Schwarber is close to healthy, he’s the hitter who could bring a decent return, particularly since he has an option year. Gomes should draw some interest as well, although probably not much in return.

    My trade predictions: Hand, Hudson, Gomes, and maybe Schwarber.


    24 Jul 21 at 7:16 pm

  3. And dang it, does this mean I’m going to have to start rooting for . . . the Barves? The Phils need to not make the playoffs for at least the next 11 seasons, and I hate the Mets only slightly less.


    24 Jul 21 at 7:20 pm

  4. Going forward, the Nats have A LOT of questions, and not a lot of easy answers. Of course all the expiring contracts for guys in their 30s is indicative of how the Nats have piecemealed rosters over the last couple of seasons. And the cupboard is bare, other than Garcia looking like he will probably “make it.” Kieboom is still lost. The bloom is completely off former top-5 prospect Robles, he of the .208 BA and 0.2 fWAR to show for his supposed “five tools.”

    The Nats have two of the best offensive players in the game in Soto and Turner . . . but then very little else. Bell will still be around, and maybe Schwarber will be as well. They’ve got no catcher. It’s a mess.

    If Scherzer is gone, they have, um, Stras coming back after hardly pitching for two years, Corbin looking like a lost contract, Fedde with a 4.88 ERA, and, um, hurt draft-pick starters from ’17, ’18, and ’19.

    Rizzo has A LOT of work to do. This is a sub-.500 team now, and it’s going to be losing a lot of pieces.


    24 Jul 21 at 7:32 pm

  5. May as well accept it: We’re going to be wandering in the wilderness for a while. That sucks, but at least we accomplished what we set out to do as contenders, and who knows, maybe with a little luck, we can contend again as soon as 2024 or thereabouts.

    Holding Scherzer at this point would not make any sense, and I suspect the Nats urged him to skip his start yesterday because they have some irons in the fire (and I’m sure Scherzer would agree that’s the right call under the circumstances), considering he’s pitched through much, much worse than this supposed “mild right triceps discomfort”. That being said…who knows. The Lerners may simply not be willing to make that kind of concession now.

    Hand and Hudson are as good as gone. Fourth-place teams don’t need veteran closers.


    25 Jul 21 at 2:06 am

  6. Agree with law and Sao that this won’t be a quick re-tool and back to competitiveness next year. Only selling the pending FAs won’t vault the farm system to top half of the league territory, though adding ANY depth would be nice. But it leads me to consider… should they trade Trea? Yes he’s a great player but I’m not sure I see them getting an extension done and he’s fetch a lot more now or this coming off season that when he’s a pending FA or the QO when he walks. You have to give value to get value.


    25 Jul 21 at 7:21 am

  7. Trading Turner; that’s bold. You’d definitely be selling high and could get value back. I’d feel a bit more comfortable making that trade if Garcia was a better prospect.

    But that move would also be a Marlins-esque signal to the fanbase that the team won’t be trying for half a decade. I just do not see this ownership gruop, after a decade of spending and success, doing something that drastic. Could be wrong, but not with the hundreds of millions of dollars tied up in Corbin/Strasburg.

    Todd Boss

    25 Jul 21 at 10:12 am

  8. I wouldn’t hate trading Turner, but then I’m more of realist about what a mess this franchise is right now player-personnel-wise. Turner only has one more year of control, and if they think about extending him, the first year of the extension would be his age-30 season, for a guy for whose a fair amount of his value is built on speed. Hard to see giving him that six- or seven-year contract that he’s going to want. I would fear a Rollins/Utley-type precipitous decline for him.

    If you do trade Turner, then the question becomes what is “enough” in value in return. I don’t think they could get as much as the return for Eaton for a guy with just the one future year of control. But I do think it would need to be something like the deal that brought Turner here, basically two top-tier prospects like the Nats got in Turner and Ross, both of whom were 1st-round picks.

    If the Nats do listen on Turner, another issue is that Story is also on the market, and Bryant as well as another top-tier offensive bat.

    We’ll see. The Nat talent pool is so low right now that it’s going to take some major trades to replenish it. Or something. There are no easy fixes, particularly with so much money tied up with Stras and Corbin now, as Todd notes. I sure wish they could trade Corbin, even if they got basically nothing in return. They might even have to include a prospect or two to get someone to take that contract. I seriously doubt that will happen, though.


    25 Jul 21 at 11:13 am

  9. And swept by the O’s. Good grief. Eight games back now. The “For Sale” sign is definitely on the lawn. What a wasted season. Injuries have hurt, no doubt, not to mention the suspension, but I had doubts about the construction of this team from the beginning.


    25 Jul 21 at 10:50 pm

  10. Well, if there’s a silver lining, we’re definitely going to be sellers now. Better to get in one lane or the other than be stuck in between.

    I’m not surprised by the way this season has gone — pitching was always a big question mark, the lineup was missing a bat or two from the get-go, and with such a battered farm system, we simply do not have the depth that contending organizations typically do. But it is frustrating, and to effectively have the last nail driven in by the Orioles serving us a blown save-loss in the ninth inning to complete a sweep is…well, tough to take.

    Let’s hope management does what must be done.


    25 Jul 21 at 10:52 pm

  11. Sell sell sell!

    2021 summary: An aging roster couldn’t stay healthy, and the Nats huge investment in starting pitching was 2/3rds wasted as Strasburg misses entire season and Corbin drastically underperforms.

    Todd Boss

    26 Jul 21 at 8:26 am

  12. I guess the overriding question, both for this week and the offseason, is whether the Nats will truly commit to some level of rebuild, or if they are going to try to keep piecemealing something in the faint hopes of a wild card.

    One key decision will be on Scherzer. As much as we’d all like to see Max retire as a Nat, I can’t see how a reunion makes sense, either financially or for team prospects of success. Now, one could argue that keeping Max and having a healthy Stras and a rebounding Corbin could combine to keep them in the mix in 2022. But after 2020 and 2021, does anyone actually believe that? I mean, it’s possible, but it’s quite unlikely.

    As for Corbin, I can’t bring myself to regret the deal for him, as it’s hard to see how they would have won the championship without him. They also wouldn’t have won it without leaning so heavily on Stras in the postseason. That usage may or may not be why he’s struggled so much since then; we’ll never know.

    That flag will fly forever, but that also seems so long ago now.


    26 Jul 21 at 10:44 am

  13. Gee, KW, you must be awfully young to think that the fall of 2019 was so long ago.

    Mark L

    26 Jul 21 at 1:09 pm

  14. I cannot see the Nats pulling a Houston or Baltimore, no. Not with the amount of money they ahve committed to Stras & Corbin for the next couple of years, and the fact that they have Turner & Soto for next year.

    I sense they will re-tool and try to at least get back to playoffs.

    Todd Boss

    26 Jul 21 at 2:54 pm

  15. Mark — I sure wish I was “awfully young!” But it’s the Nats who seem to have aged in dog years since 2019.

    Todd — I don’t think it’s in the Lerner or Rizzo character to do a complete tear-down. It worked for the Astros (for several seasons, augmented by cheating) and Cubs (briefly), but we’re still waiting on the O’s, Tigers, and others who pick at the top of the draft year after year, with no discernible improvement.

    The Nats’ biggest problems can’t be easily fixed, though. To stay competitive, teams have to keep introducing cheap, controlled talent to offset a few big contracts plus stars who are hitting arb years. Robles and Kieboom right now are flops. Fedde pretty much is, and they’ve got no other starting pitching on the near horizon to show for all of those draft picks spent on it (unless they’re planning to rush Cavalli).

    The starters under contract for 2022 are Stras (basically hasn’t pitched in two years), Corbin (5.71 ERA), and Fedde (4.88 ERA). For a team so heavily invested in starting pitching, that’s a scary proposition. They’re probably going to have to sign at least two starters . . . again.

    The Nats do have a lot of money coming off the books with all the free agents, but those guys also are leaving a lot of holes to fill. Turner and Soto will get big arb numbers. They probably will have to sign yet another starting infielder (assuming they’ll let Garcia take over one of the slots). They’ll have to sign a starting catcher. (Maybe Barrera can be the backup? He was only hitting .224 at AAA.) There’s a mutual option on Schwarber, who probably would be wise to put his HR binge on the market and take advantage of his age to try to get a three- or four-year contract. The Nats have no OF help in the pipeline whatsoever. Plus you have to wonder when they’re going to be honest with themselves about Robles (.203/.320/.294). Bell still hasn’t come close to regaining form, and he’s also only under control for one more season.


    26 Jul 21 at 3:34 pm

  16. The Nats will be irrelevant in the NL East next year. Why bother? We have $60M in dead money (assuming Corbin doesn’t miraculously re-discover how to throw quality strikes) and we have huuuuge arb raises coming.

    Embrace the suck. Don’t worry about free agents this winter. Sell what we have, get what we can, invest more in developing prospects.


    26 Jul 21 at 4:11 pm

  17. While I will believe it when I see it, as they say, there’s a whole lot of smoke suddenly around a Trea Turner trade. Trading Trea, Max, and the Joshes ought to give our farm system a significant infusion of talent.

    Does Max make his next scheduled start Thursday, a day before the deadline? That would seem like a needless risk. But after he skipped his last start, I don’t know that the Nats can afford to have him skip another. So does Mike Rizzo have Thursday circled as his “Max Scherzer trading deadline” or is he willing to gamble Max bounces back with a solid, healthy start that doesn’t negatively impact his value?

    Speaking of negatively impacting his value, Brad Hand sure has done everything in his power to ensure the Nats won’t get anything of interest for him. At this point, though, I just want him gone. Worst closer we’ve had since Soriano, and no, I am not forgetting anyone.


    27 Jul 21 at 10:30 am

  18. Well, it’s going to happen. I find myself refreshing MLBTradeRumors constantly now. Too much smoke with Scherzer and his willingness to be dealt for it to not happen at this point. And it’s picking up with Turner to the point that it’s probably at least 50/50. I get the argument for not trading him, but if the Lerners are lent willing to give him something more than Londor got (closer to Tatis-level) then he HAS to be traded now or in the offseason. Max will hopefully bring back one of a team’s Top 10 prospect, but Turner should net multiple Top 100 league-wide talents right? Hand is tanking his trade value daily, and I wouldn’t expect anything more than some lotto ticket prospects for anyone else the team trades.

    The only untouchables on the 40-man should be Soto, Garcia, Rainey, and Finnegan. Rest of the season should have Robles, Kieboom, Garcia playing everyday.


    27 Jul 21 at 10:35 am

  19. Trading Trea would net a haul indeed. Maybe the team decides that extending Soto at age 26 is better than extending Trea at 30. I’d be onboard with that and understand … but would feel better if we had a ready made replacement who could actually step in. Garcia does not seem to be that guy.

    Trading Scherzer might not be possible. Ken Rosenthal breaks it down here:

    But essentially a team acquiring Scherzer would get a huge cap hit, and would inherit a big chunk of his $35M salary remaining for the year … wouldn’t be due until 2028 but the cap hit would be now.

    Also, Scherzer has already had a QO put on him … so the Nats cannot offer him one, meaning he would get us no draft compensation.

    Todd Boss

    27 Jul 21 at 11:07 am

  20. Garcia is at .298/.363/.596 in AAA at barely 21, with 13 homers in 36 games and a 148 wRC+. That’s about as ready a replacement as you’re going to find. I have been slow to warm to Garcia as a top prospect, but his numbers this year are actually backing up the hype. It’s time to let him play full time at the MLB level and see what we’ve got, either at SS if there’s a trade, or 2B if not.

    I’m more interested in a Turner trade than a Scherzer one. With the big-money hit, there’s no way they can get any truly useful pieces in return for Max. Turner is worth two top-100 prospects.


    27 Jul 21 at 11:59 am

  21. Kieboom, meanwhile, is at .236/.376/.385 at AAA and is two and a half years older than Garcia. That said, he’s still relatively young for AAA at age 23, which we tend to forget, since he played a full season at AAA at age 21.


    27 Jul 21 at 12:02 pm

  22. So Max would supposedly prefer a West Coast team… I wonder if that foreshadows his interest in re-signing with the Nats this off-season regardless if he is traded or not.

    Also looking at MLBTR’s top 60 trade candidates has old friend MAT at 36 for his defensive value alone. Does that mean Robles could have some value as a change of scenery candidate?


    27 Jul 21 at 1:11 pm

  23. As down as I’ve been on Robles, I would say that his potential upside is still greater than what he might garner in return.

    It was interesting to note in the MLBTR story on Trea how many contending teams seem to be looking for CF help, though.


    27 Jul 21 at 1:21 pm

  24. KW

    27 Jul 21 at 2:41 pm

  25. Wow, there seems to be a lot of buzz about Trea and Max. As I’ve said, I can’t see the Nats getting a lot for Max unless they’re willing to eat a lot of his deferred money. Even if they are, though, how much do other teams see him as “worth” with an expiring contract? Maybe one prospect in the last third of the top 100 and another outside of the top 100?

    Trea, with an additional year plus playing every day, is in a different valuation category. And that’s the rub I see in trading him — can the Nats get true value for him?

    I should add that I’ve always loved seeing Trea play and would hate to see him go. But I think we’ve reached that reality now. The Nats were on a 70-win pace in 2020 and are on a 73.6 win pace for 2021. Yes, there have been injuries, yada yada, but that seems to be who they are now. And that’s about 15 wins short of playoff contention.


    27 Jul 21 at 3:12 pm

  26. So . . . Stras needs thoracic outlet surgery, Trea is positive for COVID, and half the teams in baseball want Max. Did I miss anything? I don’t think Simone has anything to do with the Nats, but might as well throw that in there. Oh, and Ovi’s back for five more years, and he did show the Nats how fun it was to celebrate a championship.

    The Stras news has to push the meter into full “sell” mode, if it wasn’t already. I’m pleasantly surprised at how fruitful the Scherzer market seems to be, which one would hope would mean some bidding up the price for his services. The COVID news with Trea is crazy, but if there’s a legit market for him, that shouldn’t be affected.

    Let’s hope the Nats can come out of the next few days with at least three new top-100 prospects, plus House’s signature on a contract. It won’t be completely embracing the suck, but it definitely would be turning a page, and closing the decade-long “window.”


    27 Jul 21 at 9:51 pm

  27. Strasburg news is a huge dagger. I may write something about it separately. Like, a franchise-altering issue for the next 5 years.

    Scherzer trade market: huge cap hit thanks to all his deferrals, but no QO compensation. I’m not sure how much we can get for him.

    Turner: yes there’s a market, but it seems to me his trade will be much more complicated b/c the acquiring team would want to discuss extension with him. Plus, how do you value him? Is he Francisco Lindor? Is he a future $300M contract guy?

    Todd Boss

    28 Jul 21 at 9:28 am

  28. That’s why I’m somewhat surprised at the vigor of the market for Max: it will be a complicated process. I do think there’s a good chance that the Nats would be willing to take on paying more of what’s left on Max’s contract in exchange for better prospects.

    With Trea still having another year of control, I don’t think extension talk would be a holdup at this point. The Lindor contract is a reminder of why the Nats have to trade him. I don’t think Trea would get quite Lindor money, but he could be close to $30M AAV for 7+ years. And of course Lindor’s struggles this year are a reminder of why such contracts are so risky.


    28 Jul 21 at 10:12 am

  29. It’s looking like the market for Turner might be hurt by the availability of a number of hitters, though. To be clear, the only reason to trade him is to get at least two top-tier prospects in return. If such a deal isn’t available, hang onto him and see what materializes in the offseason.

    In a perfect world, I would love to see Turner stay and extend with the Nats. But between the contract he’s going to want and the Nats perhaps spinning their wheels success-wise over the next couple of years, it’s hard to see it making sense to the Nats to commit $250M or so to him. And if they’re not going to re-sign him and probably not going to be in contention next year, then by all means, get something for him, now or in the offseason. A trade for a couple of good prospects gives you a lot more than the QO compensation is now.


    28 Jul 21 at 10:21 am

  30. Speculation in Natosphere of what the Nats might be able to get for Scherzer seems quite overly optimistic to me, even with Hand or Hudson also included. However, if there is indeed a bidding war, we’ll see how things turn out. He really could be the piece that tips the NL West race for any of three teams.

    I’m trying not to get depressed by this, as this really is the end of an era.


    28 Jul 21 at 8:54 pm

  31. Until something happens, it’s still a possibility that nothing happens — especially with this COVID-19 situation.

    It’s oh so quiet…which is, of course, how Mike Rizzo prefers to operate.


    28 Jul 21 at 10:57 pm

  32. The Nats are sinking like a rock. It would be front-office malpractice not to at least get something for the better players with expiring contracts, even if it’s not ideal return. I hate that the team is in this position, but it’s reality.

    Turner is a different story. There’s no rush on him. He probably would have just as much value in the offseason. If COVID is hurting his value right now, then wait.


    29 Jul 21 at 7:21 am

  33. I just can’t imagine Turner getting moved between now and 4pm. too complex a deal.

    Todd Boss

    29 Jul 21 at 10:15 am

  34. The trading deadline is 4 p.m. tomorrow.
    The deadline to sign draft choices is Sunday, though I don’t know what time. With 4 unsigned players the pressure is on.

    Mark L

    29 Jul 21 at 10:35 am

  35. first trade. Hand gone.

    Draft signing deadline: so our 20th rounder was on the MLBpipeline podcast about being an observant/orthodox Jew … but i got no indication he was going to sign.

    Todd Boss

    29 Jul 21 at 12:06 pm

  36. Just looked at Kliglman’s twitter; he’s declining and going to Wake Forest.

    Todd Boss

    29 Jul 21 at 12:07 pm

  37. Im predicting House gets exactly $5,026,900 of a bonus. That takes the Nats 10round pool to zero.

    Todd Boss

    29 Jul 21 at 12:16 pm

  38. Hand was traded for Austin Riley, a catcher who was the Blue Jays #20 prospect and FanGraphs has him as the #15 Nats prospect. He’s 25 and has a .858 OPS at AAA.

    Losing Kligman was no big deal, he has a low ceiling.

    Mark L

    29 Jul 21 at 12:38 pm

  39. OOPS… Riley Austin.

    Mark L

    29 Jul 21 at 12:40 pm

  40. Not exactly Capps for Ramos. But that’s what I’ve been saying — for most of these guys, you can’t expect much in return. Riley Adams doesn’t look much different, in the backup catcher derby, from Barrera or Reetz.

    I’m scratching my head over why the Blue Jays are buying, though. They’re 4.5 back in a crowded wild card race.


    29 Jul 21 at 1:14 pm

  41. Adams has real power but also has a 32% strikeout rate.

    Mark L

    29 Jul 21 at 1:49 pm

  42. Adams’s SLG numbers have come more from doubles than homers. Better than nothing, and perhaps better than Barrera or Reetz, but we’ll see.


    29 Jul 21 at 2:01 pm

  43. Why did Toronto acquire hand? I dunno; their existing closer is named Romano and seems to have decent enoughnumbers, but seems to think Hand immediately takes over as closer there.

    might have been a need for need trade?

    Adams: better than Reetz.

    Todd Boss

    29 Jul 21 at 2:22 pm

  44. Great to send off (maybe) Max with a win, and to send off (maybe) Gomes with a dagger to beat the hated Phils.


    29 Jul 21 at 2:28 pm

  45. Now buzz on Schwarber, too. The more the merrier at this point.


    29 Jul 21 at 2:30 pm

  46. At least the Nats are doing their best to fulfill my #1 request: keep the Phils out of the playoffs! They actually haven’t made the playoffs since the Nats got good in 2012. And the drought needs to continue at least 11 more years, until a certain contract expires . . .


    29 Jul 21 at 3:43 pm

  47. Todd Boss

    29 Jul 21 at 4:46 pm

  48. The #Padres are in deep discussions with the #Nationals to acquire ace Max Scherzer. The deal is rumored to be centered around Chris Paddack, Joshua Mears and Mason Thompson. Perhaps CJ Abrhams.

    I’d love Paddack or Abrahms.

    Todd Boss

    29 Jul 21 at 4:55 pm

  49. FIP (3.71) and BABIP against (.326) say Paddack is a lot better than his 5.13 ERA. Controlled for three more years.

    Abrams is a top-10 overall prospect who would be, um, Trea’s replacement.


    29 Jul 21 at 5:22 pm

  50. KW

    29 Jul 21 at 5:26 pm

  51. yeah, Abrams is hurt. but he’s frigging good.

    Todd Boss

    29 Jul 21 at 5:52 pm

  52. Paddack and Abrams? That has to be wishful thinking for a rental, right? Even a Max rental. I mean, I’d be elated, but also shocked if the return is anything close to that. I could see a Paddack/Mears/Thompson deal.


    29 Jul 21 at 6:29 pm

  53. I’ve thought that most of the packages mentioned for Max seemed ambitious, but with the supposed bidding war for his services, you never know. And the Padres won’t exactly have an opening at SS anytime soon . . .

    I still think Abrams is an ambitious hope. Paddack as one of the pieces would make a lot of sense. However, if the expectation is that the Nats eat most of Max’s salary, then the return is going to have to be higher.

    Also, Schwarber would be an upgrade in LF in Petco, if you want to make things a little wilder.

    The next 21 hours are going to be very interesting for the future of the Nats.


    29 Jul 21 at 6:43 pm

  54. Just educating myself on Padre prospects . . .


    29 Jul 21 at 6:47 pm

  55. I guess that’s one thing I had really focused on — Abrams is basically completely blocked in San Diego, with Tatis, Machado, and Cronenworth all under long-term control (and now Frazier through at least next year too). Unless Cronenworth is a mirage, Abrams would have to move to the outfield to be a starter. So maybe they feel he’s expendable — here’s hoping!


    29 Jul 21 at 6:58 pm

  56. Rosenthal reporting that the Dodgers are still in the Scherzer hunt. Love it! Bidding war! You’ve got a winning hand, Riz — just play it right.


    29 Jul 21 at 7:11 pm

  57. Fangraphs much more pessimistic about Mears and Thompson relative to (where both are top 10). So really hoping its Abrams! Or Campusano…still need a catcher more than anything.


    29 Jul 21 at 7:14 pm

  58. Damn, if they get Gray and Ruiz for Max and Trea, that would be a massive haul.


    29 Jul 21 at 9:19 pm

  59. Ehhh, we’ll see. I thought Trea by himself was worth a return like Gray + Ruiz. So that means they’re just getting junk for Max. Carrillo is a AA failing starter with a 4.25 ERA, destined for the bullpen. The Nats have about 50 of those already. Casey isn’t even on prospect lists, long prospect lists (not in the FanGraphs’ top 51 for the Dodgers). He’s 25 and hitting .213 at AA. What the heck? He’s worse than junk.

    I hope there’s more to the deal than is being reported. Yes, it’s the Dodgers’ top two prospects, but only #41 and 42 overall according to Yes, the Nats desperately need a catcher, though, and Gray should be an MLB-ready starter, but mid-rotation at best. Decent pieces, but for Trea as well, I’m not doing cartwheels.


    29 Jul 21 at 11:13 pm

  60. Dodgers are taking on all of the salary, which explains why there’s not as much of a prospect haul for Max. He’s a straight salary dump. So Ruiz + Gray pretty much are for Trea. For the future of the franchise, though, it would have made more sense to pay more of the freight and get more in return.


    29 Jul 21 at 11:16 pm

  61. Now Schwarber to Bosox for a 20-year-old with a big arm:

    Wow, it really is a fire sale. But that’s exactly what they had to do.


    29 Jul 21 at 11:22 pm

  62. But hey, Riz, forget trading for more pitchers! We need hitters!


    29 Jul 21 at 11:22 pm

  63. I don’t think it’s really hit yet: Virtually the entire core of the 2019 world champion Nationals is gone. Juan Soto, Andrew Stevenson, and Ryan Zimmerman are still here; we brought back Gerardo Parra; a couple of the relievers from that run are still with us; we’ve got the burned-out husks of Patrick Corbin and Stephen Strasburg; otherwise, that’s pretty much it.

    This is the right thing to do, and I know that, and this is what I wanted, and I can and will live with it. I’m not the sort of person who lets my emotions run me like a train. This is obviously the correct path forward. But it’s still pretty crazy.

    Still in disbelief over the Dodgers deal. What a haul. I disagree Trea was bringing back Ruiz and Gray on his own with just a year and a half of control on him and a very, very steep arb raise coming up; I could see something like Ruiz plus Beeter for him, but not both Ruiz and Gray. Lots of unknowables: What if the Nats had kept the Padres in the bidding just a bit longer? What if the Nats had eaten salary instead of letting the Dodgers take it on? What if Trea hadn’t gone on the COVID-19 IL? What if Max hadn’t had that meltdown in San Diego earlier this month? But it is what it is, and Keibert Ruiz and Josiah Gray immediately become huge and near-term prospects for us. Ruiz especially is very, very exciting. Gray ought to be a #3/4 starter at worst with #1/2 upside.

    I’m more ambivalent about the returns for other players, but they’re all rentals (so far, at least) and we got what we got. At least these players are real prospects and not Andruw Monasterio/Jhon Romero types.


    30 Jul 21 at 3:36 am

  64. KW – I’m not super excited about Casey but where do you see he’s hitting .213 in AA?

    I show him at .296/.362/.462 at AA.

    Hit 20 HRs in high A in 2019.

    Yes, he’s old for AA but those are good numbers.


    30 Jul 21 at 6:50 am

  65. has already begun updating our top 30:

    Ramirez is at #8
    Adams #10
    Thompson #13
    Barley #22

    Have to figure Ruiz and Gray debut at 1 & 2 (they still have Cavalli ranked 77th) and Carillo is pushing top 10.

    Wouldn’t bet against Casey cracking our top 30, either.


    30 Jul 21 at 7:00 am

  66. Sao – saw your running comments over at Talk Nats about Rutledge. Were you in Fredericksburg last night? I was. Thought Jackson looked good. Definitely looked healthy.


    30 Jul 21 at 7:02 am

  67. My bad on the .213 on Casey; that was his 2019 BA in AA. Yes, improved in 2021, but still a frightening 30% K rate.


    30 Jul 21 at 7:41 am

  68. The key to the success of all of this is Ruiz. If the Nats get a better-than-average-hitting catcher for the next six seasons, then that’s a significant deal. There are only eight catchers above 2.0 fWAR right now, 14 at 1.5 or above. Of those 14, only 6 have a BA above .250. Catchers who can hit absolutely are unicorns.

    Opinions on Ruiz seem split. The Fangraphs profile in the 2021 prospect listings isn’t glowing. Others are much higher on him.

    My comp thought for Josiah Gray is Sonny Gray, an undersized starter who strikes out a lot of people. If he’s that good, it certainly will be worthwhile. His numbers already make me think he can/will be better than Fedde, although admittedly that’s a low bar.


    30 Jul 21 at 8:04 am

  69. So many deals, will have to find time to write a post.

    Todd Boss

    30 Jul 21 at 8:30 am

  70. Sao, I absolutely think the Nats could have gotten a third better prospect from the Dodgers if they had been willing to eat a good bit of Max’s salary. I don’t know why they didn’t. Did that edict come from the Lerners? Or did the Dodgers prefer just to eat the money and the taxes?

    And yes, I also agree that this is a weird feeling. Literally a month ago, this team was a game back, Schwarber was amazing, and we thought Stras would be back soon. And of course just two years ago we were on our way to a championship.

    I have no idea where things go from here, and neither does Rizzo or anyone else. I agree that this had to be done. This season was done, and these contracts are expiring. And it probably wouldn’t be worth it to extend Trea at the huge, long contract he’s going to want.

    On the plus side, the Nats will have a huge amount of money available for free agency this offseason. It’s not out of the question that they can reassemble a team capable of winning in the 80s in 2022. And the NL East is no juggernaut. They’ve got to have a good number of the prospects make it, though — Ruiz, Gray, Garcia, Cavelli.


    30 Jul 21 at 8:33 am

  71. Return on Huddy wasn’t bad, looks better than what little they got for Hand. Thompson is at least interesting.


    30 Jul 21 at 8:35 am

  72. Here’s a question: do you get Ruiz, Gray, and Garcia in particular playing regularly in the majors for the rest of this season, as part of the learning curve, putting aside the time clock concerns? I would. It’s an investment toward being better in 2022, instead of 2028.


    30 Jul 21 at 8:37 am

  73. Todd, you’re the options expert here.
    I have all the players we got from the Dodgers as being out of options after this year.
    If that’s true then the trade seems even worse.

    Mark L

    30 Jul 21 at 8:58 am

  74. Mark, according to their FanGraphs player cards, Gray and Carrillo still have three options left, and Ruiz has one. Presumably, he’s the starting catcher next year, so that shouldn’t matter. Casey isn’t on the 40-man and is Rule 5 eligible. The Nats will have about 20 openings on the 40-man to start the offseason, so plenty of room if they want to add him. Not sure why they would, though. He’s very typical Rule 5 fodder.


    30 Jul 21 at 9:53 am

  75. Thanks KW. There are still moving parts with the Dodger trade so we better wait until it’s final.

    I like the return on the Hudson deal.

    Mark L

    30 Jul 21 at 10:06 am

  76. House just signed, as Todd predicted, for $5 million.

    Mark L

    30 Jul 21 at 10:48 am

  77. its taken all morning to update the artifacts for these moves. big board, trade details, roster details, prospect details. I have not looked at options. but the roster resource is great for tracing that.

    Grey: literally added to the 40-man a week ago so he’s yet to be optioned.
    Thompson: 3 options
    Ruiz: 1 option left
    Ramirez: minor leaguer
    Carrillo: 3 options
    Adams: 3 options.
    Barley: minor leaguer

    So, that’s not bad at all.

    Todd Boss

    30 Jul 21 at 10:51 am

  78. Also, here’s the prospect and their relative rank we just picked up: #1 Grey, #2 Ruiz, #8 Ramirez, #10 Carrillo, #19 Adams, #21 Thompson and #26 Barley.

    Can’t beat that.

    Todd Boss

    30 Jul 21 at 10:52 am

  79. Hooray for House getting taken care of.

    Teams said to be in on Gomes, which is good. If you’re having a fire sale, get anything you can for everyone. Ruiz may be the starting catcher by tomorrow.


    30 Jul 21 at 10:57 am

  80. 2021 draft seems like its in the books

    Sign 17 of 20 picks. 20th rounder going to college (Wake Forest), while the two pitchers we drafted speculatively in 11th and 13th probably are not signing at this point. $5M-> house means just $26k remains in the bonus pool, probably not enough to entice either guy. Anglin was probably never signing once he slipped out of the big money top rounds and will go back to Clemson. Davis is more odd; he’s now listed as being at the same Juco for the 3rd straight year … but no mention of him going to a 4-year school. But presumably he’s heading to a bigger program to try to push his stock up for 2022.

    Todd Boss

    30 Jul 21 at 10:58 am

  81. I was not in Fredericksburg, but I did get to watch part of the game (not as much as I’d have liked) on Rutledge’s velo was definitely off peak by the fifth inning (98-99 in the first inning, 94-95 in the fifth), which is to be expected given that was his longest outing in quite some time. But he pitched tough and didn’t get too rattled by a couple questionable calls. A nice outing for him to build on. Big ups to Mario Lisson for going out there to give him a pep talk before he buckled down and finished the inning.


    30 Jul 21 at 11:14 am

  82. Thanks on the options, Todd. Glad I was so wrong about them.

    Mark L

    30 Jul 21 at 1:09 pm

  83. Gomes and Harrison going to Billy Beane. Now all is right with the world. Too bad we couldn’t trade Suzuki back to him again!


    30 Jul 21 at 3:09 pm


    Only makes sense we did an Oakland trade.

    Todd Boss

    30 Jul 21 at 4:07 pm

  85. Lester to Cards. Wow. Avila is hurt, and they weren’t going to trade Zim, so Ross and Mercer are about the only expiring contracts left. That’s amazing, or something. If you’re going to blow it out, blow it out, I guess.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, your Rochester Red Wings!

    I would say that I really do hope that they’ll let the kids play, but they have no other choice.


    30 Jul 21 at 4:21 pm

  86. The catching prospect from the A’s, Millas, looks promising, excellent defensively and not bad at the plate. He’s better than Pineda defensively and makes more contact.

    They traded for THREE catchers, which doesn’t say much for what they think of the crop on hand.


    30 Jul 21 at 4:29 pm

  87. It’s going to be a lot more fun watching the farm teams than the big club the next 2 months.

    Was watching MLB TV today and they had the Nats as one of the winners this week.

    Picking up 3 catchers raises your eyebrows. Rochester yesterday morning had 5 catchers, with Read as one on the IL. What happens now?

    Todd’s right; it would have been totally unnatural for there not to have a trade with the A’s.

    Mark L

    30 Jul 21 at 5:10 pm

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