The 2019 MLB trade deadline is approaching, and teams have been trying to decide if they should buy or sell by the end of the month. The Washington Nationals are a bubble team that could take the route of buying or selling. They can decide to go for a playoff push, rebuild or hold off until next season. Here are some reasons why the Nationals should go all-in on buying for a postseason run at the trade deadline:
They’re Currently on Fire
From May 24 through July 17, the Nationals went 31-13 giving them the best record in baseball during that span. However, they were sitting at 19-31 before the hot streak, putting them at 50-44 after July 17. This record puts them 6 1/2 games back in the NL East, but they still remain in first for the NL Wild Card. A big part of their recent success is their starting pitching. The team had the fourth-lowest ERA in June at 3.85. This has also continued into July as they have the lowest ERA as of July 18 at 2.36. This isn’t the first time a team started out slow but ended up in the playoff race. An example of this is the 2003 Florida Marlins. The team started 19-29, but finished the season going 91-71, putting them in the playoffs and eventually winning the World Series.
The NL Wild Card is Extremely Close
After the games concluded on July 17, every National League team was within five games of the second Wild Card spot except for the Marlins. On paper, any National League team can still make the playoffs, but those who add to their weak spots will greatly increase their odds of securing a spot come October. The Nationals already have an edge by being in first in the Wild Card race, and naturally more teams will start to fizzle out as the season progresses.
Nationals Fans have Waited Long Enough
Since the franchise became the Washington Nationals in 2004, they made the playoffs just four times, all resulting in division series losses. This means that not only have the Nationals not made the World Series, but they have yet to even win a playoff series. Veterans such as Trea Turner, Anthony Rendon and Ryan Zimmerman have stuck with this team for years and it’s time for them to make a run.
Players to Target
The Nationals are going to have to upgrade their bullpen, and maybe even add a starter if they want to make a postseason run. Here are some players the Nationals might want to target at the deadline should they decide to buy:
Mychal Givens (RHP, Baltimore Orioles)
The Orioles are willing to trade just about anybody if the price is right, and Michael Givens very well could be traded. His current 4.34 ERA isn’t impressive, but he had a slow start that he’s turned around just like the Nationals. The 29-year-old has a 1.08 ERA dating back to June 20. He also threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings against the Nationals on July 17 which could have caught Washington’s eye. Lastly, Givens is a righty and can fit in the bullpen nicely with left-hander Sean Doolittle.
Greg Holland (RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks)
Greg Holland could be useful on the team he played for last season. He pitched 21 1/3 innings with Washington last season allowing only two runs, giving him a 0.84 ERA with the team. He’s also a right-hander that can help balance out this struggling bullpen. The 33-year-old is on the last year of his contract which could benefit the Nationals in that they may not have to give up too much to get him. Holland has a 3.19 ERA through 31 innings pitched so far this year.
Chris Martin (RHP, Texas Rangers)
This one is not certain since the Rangers are also on the bubble, but he is worth a look as he can help this team down the stretch. The 6-foot-8 reliever is easily having the best year of his career. He currently posts a 2.97 ERA with a 0.96 WHIP. Since June, the number is even better as his ERA is just 1.20. The Nationals need a lot of help in their bullpen, and they may even need multiple guys added. Chris Martin could wind up being one of those players.
Matt Boyd (LHP, Detroit Tigers)
Matt Boyd has been involved in numerous trade rumors, so why not let the Nationals be an option? Boyd is having a career year. He’s currently leading the American League in strikeout-to-walk ratio, meaning he strikes out a lot more batters than he walks. The 28-year-old has a lot of upside for the deadline, one being that he has three years of team control left. The Nationals could use Boyd to strengthen their rotation that includes Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg.
Feature Image Courtesy of The Washington Post.