Craig Heist, wtop.com
WASHINGTON-Sitting in first place in the National League East 21 games above .500 and with a 3 ˝ game lead over the Braves, the Nationals didn't make a trade before the non-waiver trade deadline on Tuesday.
The reason? They didn't feel like they had to.
"We just didn't see a good enough upgrade for his to make a trade," said Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo. "We did our roster construction in the winter and we've taken our vision and our plan through July right now and we didn't see any glaring needs that needed to be filled. We think we have the team in that clubhouse right now that can play meaningful games in September and October."
It's hard to argue with that logic when you stop to think the Nats have had a total of 19 players go on the DL this season and have maintained their hold on the division.
They are currently tied for sixth in the National League in offense after a rough first two months. They lead the league in pitching with a 3.25 ERA and a .233 opponent's average and they are fourth in the NL in defense. While GM's will tell you they are always looking for ways to upgrade their club, one has to wonder what a trade would do to the chemistry of an already good clubhouse. "I never thought we were going to do anything," said Nationals manager Davey Johnson. "I like this ballclub and its functioning well."
"Where would you upgrade?" Rizzo said. Our eight position players are all under control beyond this year and they are all young and athletic and playing extremely well. For us to do a trade just to make a trade didn't make sense to us because we got a great feel and we‘ve got great chemistry and players with great ability."
Rizzo said he had been in contact with several clubs over the last few weeks concerning trades and even though he said talks ramped up a bit, at no time did he ever feel anything was imminent.
"The phones were ringing off the hook," he said. "A lot of teams like our big league players and our minor league players so we did a lot of work today and we feel we got a lot out of the trade deadline. We are excited to see what happens after the deadline because there are always opportunities to improve yourself after the trade deadline."
Other teams in the National League like the Giants, Reds, Pirates, Dodgers and Braves all made deals trying to improve their rosters to make a run at the post season.
The Nationals will be faced the reality of losing Stephen Strasburg when they shut him down sometime in September but Rizzo said he had no desire to go out and rent- a-pitcher for the stretch drive when the Nats will use the likes of John Lannan or Chien-Ming Wang at that time.
"Teams are trying to better themselves for the stretch run and some good teams got a little stronger and we are looking forward to competing against them. We have a lot of season left and we are ready to attack it."
Sometimes it's the trades you don't make that turn out to be your best moves.
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