Mark Zuckerman of Nats Insider doesn’t expect the Washington Nationals to be extremely active as the trade deadline approaches when it comes to filling some of their areas of need, including a center fielder, reliever and additional starter.
That doesn't mean Rizzo might not pull off a minor trade or two, perhaps for some bench help or even a veteran catcher who could help take some of the load off Jesus Flores.
But at this point, a major move on July 31 doesn't appear to be in the Nationals' plans.
Zuckerman notes that Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo might be content waiting for injured players Jayson Werth and Drew Storen to return from the disabled list.
With an outfield of Bryce Harper, Mike Morse and Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche at first base, Zuckerman doesn’t believe the Nationals have room for the "leadoff-hitting center fielder Rizzo has coveted for years."
Washington had been tied to relievers this summer, but Zuckerman believes the team might have too many bullpen arms right now. He adds that a quality arm, such as Ryan Mattheus, Craig Stammen or Mike Gonzalez, could lose their roster spot once Storen returns from the DL.
Zuckerman also believes the Nationals pursuit of an additional starter to plug into the rotation once Stephen Strasburg reaches his innings-limit is overblown. He notes that Washington may only need a fifth starting pitcher "three or four times" after Strasburg is shut down "thanks to a couple of September off-days." Plus, Zuckerman doesn’t get the feeling that Washington wants to bump young left-hander Ross Detwiler from their rotation.
Which, if any, holes should the Nationals aggressively attempt to fill?