All around them fellow contenders made deals just before Major League Baseball’s trade deadline expired at 4 p.m. pm Tuesday. But with nothing on the docket that made sense, the Nationals were content to stand pat.
There is still a chance to add a player in August via trade. They would just have to pass through waivers to do so. But for now general manager Mike Rizzo and his front office decided that their internal options to fill holes on the roster were better than what was available on the market for a higher price than they wanted to pay in dollars and prospects.
“All along we said that we like who we are and we like where we’re at. We like the composition of the roster,” Rizzo said. “We didn’t see a whole lot of holes to fill. It’s not about complacency. It’s about making good, sound decisions and not taking the short route with rental players that could affect us long-term.”
Rizzo noted that his club added veteran pinch-hitter Chad Tracy to the roster on Tuesday. He had missed 55 games with a strained right adductor muscle and eventually needed sports hernia surgery yet is still second in RBI (nine) among all big-league pinch hitters. He hasn’t played a game since May 26.
On the way also is outfielder Jayson Werth (broken left wrist), who will make a few more rehab starts this week and should rejoin the team later in the current homestand against Philadelphia and Miami. Those, in effect, will be Washington’s deadline moves. The Nats are also waiting on shortstop Ian Desmond (small left oblique tear), who could be back by mid-August.
“I never thought we were going to do anything,” manager Davey Johnson said. “I like this ballclub. Everything’s functioning well.”
But is that enough to hold off red-hot teams like Atlanta or Cincinnati for the best record in the National League? Even the margin between the league’s best record and missing the postseason all together is just 6 ½ games entering play Tuesday.
The Braves added reserve outfielder Reed Johnson, a left-handed hitting specialist, and starting pitcher Paul Maholm. The Reds bolstered their bullpen with Kansas City closer Jonathan Broxton. The Pirates added starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez and still-promising outfielder Travis Snider. The Dodgers traded for Marlins third baseman Hanley Ramirez and Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino while their rival Giants took Hunter Pence from the Phillies. Arizona solidified third base by acquiring Houston’s Chris Johnson.
“We don’t make our decisions upon what other teams are doing just to kind of keep up with the Joneses,” Rizzo said. “We’ve got a plan and a vision in place and we’ve stuck to it. And we’re going to continue to do so. That’s how we made our decisions through this trade deadline and through the ones in the past also.”
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