Washington Nationals – Iffy Players in the Market
Will they or won’t they? That has been the question many fans have asked on the subject of whether or not the Washington Nationals will sell off their assets in order to prime for a rebuild. As of this writing, the perplexing Nats are six games out of the division lead and five and a half games out of a wild-card spot.
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It could be a stretch, but perhaps Mike Rizzo and the Nats are looking to tweak their roster one last time before heading into September fighting for their playoff lives. If so, Estrada could join Max Scherzer (2.28 ERA, 216 K, 161.2 IP), Gio Gonzalez (3.89 ERA, 125 IP, 111 K) and Tanner Roark (4.21 ERA, 136.2 IP, 118 K) in the rotation, and maybe even Stephen Strasburg if he can get healthy enough again.
Of all the teams mentioned above, the Nats are probably the least likely to go after a rental pitcher in August. It’s more than likely that they’ll simply count their losses this year and retool in the offseason to try and compete for a legitimate postseason spot next year. Still, as with the Yankees, the Nationals can never be counted out, especially when it comes to trades, and especially as they face the impending free agency of Bryce Harper.
Estrada wouldn’t be a huge upgrade for the Nationals, especially if they have a healthy rotation, but he could certainly help if Strasburg can’t get healthy before the final stretch run. They would also need to go on a hot streak to justify trading more minor league assets, but they are just 5.5 games back in their NL East, even if they’d need to leapfrog both the Braves and Phillies to get to the top. They’re just 4.5 back of the second Wild Card position, but that logjam could be even more difficult to overcome.
With all the information above, it’s hard to imagine Estrada will stick with the Blue Jays much longer. Following an outstanding outing in Seattle, his trade value should increase considerably, and his tenure with the Jays should come to a close sooner rather than later. A seasoned veteran with poise and confidence to match, expect his name to come up frequently in trade chatter over the next few weeks.