The Nationals have been struggling for what it seems like is years, which has only been a month. They are struggling to put all three phases of the game together and win ballgames. This Nationals team is undoubtedly much more loaded than team's in years past. Their bullpen is one of the best in the game. Their rotation, although decimated by injuries, does have potential, definitely with the pitching depth they've built in the majors. In the field, they've made good trades in the past year, as well as gotten good play from key pieces like Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham. But the long and the short of it is that they haven't been able to connect the dots. Roger Bernadina is turning into a nice right fielder who can play and a hit about .280, with some pop. But Christian Guzman continues to be a cancer to this team's W-L total with his fielding and lack of consistency at the plate, as well as Nyjer Morgan who has struggled. The top of the order has not gotten on for the heart of the order (Zim, Dunn, Hammer) to drive in runs. Morgan has made a revival in the past few games and his defensive ability makes him worthwhile to keep around. But Guzman needs to get out of the top of order. If Jim Riggleman is set on keeping Bernadina in the 6th spot, than move up Desmond to the 2 spot and let the Jeter comparisons continue. Ian is getting lost at the bottom of the order, and he is a good slap hitter who can get on base in a variety of ways and then reek some havoc on the bases. In an addition to the lineup shift, the Nats should really add a hitter or two not just at the trade deadline (July 31) but now. Garrett Atkins and Chad Tracy have each been recently designated for assignment. Each is worth a long look.
Atkins is a career .285 hitter with 99 HR and 488 RBI's. He had 20+ and 100 RBI's or more three consecutive years with the Rockies (in '08, he had 99 but that's close enough). His best season was in 2006. He hit 29 HR and drove in 120 RBI's for the Colorado Rockies.
Tracy is a career .279 hitter with 78 HR and 323 RBI's. He hit 20+ HR's twice but even in his best season, he only drove in 80 runs, which is really low for a home run hitter. His best season average-wise was 2005, when he hit .308 for the Diamondbacks.
If I had to choose Tracy or Atkins, I'd choose Atkins even though he is a 1B and Tracy is a 3B. Regardless, a pick up like this is more about some pop off the bench than fielding prowess. This could be the jult that the Nationals offense could really use, if not just a power bat off the bench late in games. Mike Morse does have pop but he is not as accomplished as either Tracy or Atkins.