Even at 11 games out of first in the National League East, the Nationals may still be players in the trade market, according to Bill Ladson. He contends that Washington, only 6 1/2 games behind the Braves in the Wild Card race midway through the season, might just make a move before the July 31 deadline.
With the rotation (ranked 9th in the MLB in ERA) and bullpen the strongest parts of the team, the Nats might look to bolster their lineup, primarily at the top of the order.
Ladson points to the number of attempts they've made to find someone to stick: "They have already used five [starters] -- Rick Ankiel, Roger Bernadina, Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa and Jayson Werth -- this season, and none of them have been able to produce."
Ladson further notes that rumors have surfaced about teams sniffing around relievers Todd Coffey and Tyler Clippard, both of which Washington would ask for a lot in return. However, before they look to potential trades, the Nationals are hoping to find an in-house solution at the top of the order. Enter Stephen Lombardozzi, now on the radar for a potential call-up after going 18-for-42 in Triple-A, who may be called up if no other options present themselves.
As we usually say, every team wants another starter and every team wants a better leadoff hitter. Whether the Nationals really are on the market and looking for an injection of talent or if this is an exercise in hope remains to be seen.