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Nationals Rumors: Ryan Dempster, Zack Greinke, Francisco Liriano

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July 15, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg (37) throws during the fifth inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Nationals won 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
July 15, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg (37) throws during the fifth inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Nationals won 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Due to Stephen Strasburg’s looming innings-limit, the Washington Nationals are exploring trades for starting pitchers, including Chicago Cubs right-hander Ryan Dempster, Minnesota Twins left-hander Francisco Liriano and Brewers right-hander Zack Greinke, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

The Nationals do not intend to allow right-hander Stephen Strasburg reach his innings limit without an alternate plan.

The team is exploring trades for starting pitchers, including Cubs right-hander Ryan Dempster, according to major-league sources.

The Nationals are currently in first place in the National League East and in prime position for their second playoff berth in franchise history, the first since moving to Washington. Still, the club could be without top starter Stephen Strasburg down the stretch and into the post-season if they decide to shut him down once he reaches a team-imposed innings-limit.

Strasburg has currently logged 105 innings this season. Rosenthal notes that the right-hander is on pace to reach his limit, which is believed to be 160 to 165, by the end of August or early September.

Beyond pitching, Rosenthal adds that the Nationals are also looking for an everyday catcher, with Colorado Rockies backstop Ramon Hernandez "among their potential targets."

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Should the Nationals shut Strasburg down early?

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