Washington Nationals' Big Decisions: Tyler Clippard, Todd Coffey, Jason Marquis and Pudge.

Ivan Rodriguez #7 of the Washington Nationals celebrates with pitcher Tyler Clippard #36 after defeating the Brewers 8-4 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

It's going to take more than RHP Jonathan Albaladejo. The New York Yankees, who drafted Tyler Clippard out of JW Mitchell High School in Port St. Lucie, Florida with the 274th overall pick in the 9th Round of the 2003 MLB Draft, were mentioned this weekend in Boston Globe writer Nick Cafardo's "Sunday Notes" baseball column as one of two teams (along with the Phillies) that would have interest in the right-handed reliever should the Washington Nationals, who acquired Clippard on December 4, 2007 straight-up for Albaladejo, decide to part with Clippard at the July '11 Trade Deadline.

The Nats clearly have gotten the better of the Yanks on this deal, with Clippard, (16-10) since the trade, posting a 2.79 ERA, a 1.16 WHIP, 4.2 BB/9 and 10.6 K/9 in 150 games and 200.1 IP over the last three seasons with Washington, while Albaladejo's made just 49 appearances with New York, pitching 59.1 innings in which he's put up a 4.77 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 4.6 BB/9 and 6.4 K/9 in pinstripes. Clippard's name, according to the Boston Globe's Mr. Cafardo, is one that you'll, "...hear a lot as possible trade bait, and Washington would find a strong market for him." 

FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal talked Clippard to Tampa Bay last week, writing in an article entitled, "Trade Thoughts: Rangers, Nationals", that the Nationals, if they were willing to part with, "...right-handed setup man Tyler Clippard and a young position prospect perhaps," might be able to, "...make a [B.J.] Upton deal work." The Nationals' have made no secret of their desire to acquire a center fielder/leadoff man. Mr. Rosenthal mentions' Rangers' outfielder Julio Bourbon as another alternative for the Nats to consider, the Astros' Michael Bourn's been mentioned as a target of interest, and the Boston Globe's Mr. Cafardo mentioned Boston Red Sox' prospect Josh Reddick as another possibility the Nats should consider last weekend. 

FOXSports.com's Mr. Rosenthal was actually talking about Todd Coffey, not Clippard, when he discussed the Rangers' interest in the Nats' relievers. ESPN.com's Jayson Stark supported Mr. Rosenthal's claims of the Rangers' interest in Coffey as well, writing in an article this past weekend entitled, "Their 'Free Agent Meter' is running", that, "The Rangers are stepping up their hunt for a right-handed setup man," and, "One name clearly on their list: Washington's Todd Coffey."

Coffey, Clippard, Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, Jason Marquis...the Nationals have some big decisions to make over the next six weeks. Marquis, according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson, would like to stick around if the Nats will have him. Pudge has said the same. Marquis told Mr. Ladson this past weekend, in an article entitled, "Marquis wants to stay with Nats long-term", that with the talent the Nationals have collected (he mentions Ryan Zimmerman, Jordan Zimmermann, John Lannan, Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa, etc.), "'There are so many good guys, it would be a shame to not be a part of it. It has to be mutual on both sides. Whether it's now or at the end of the season, we'll figure something out.'"

A year ago, you would have been hard-pressed to find voices in NatsTown arguing in favor of keeping Marquis, but his return-to-form this season has not only raised his trade value, but also earned him some admirers amongst the DC Faithful who could see the veteran "extreme ground ball pitcher" fitting in at the back end of a future Stephen Strasburg, Zimmermann, Lannan/Sammy Solis, A.J. Cole-ish rotation. Will D.C. GM Mike Rizzo find the center fielder/leadoff man the Nats know they need? Will Coffey, Clippard, Pudge or Marquis be part of the deal that brings a center fielder back or are they part of the future competitive Nats?

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