The big deal for Adam Dunn or maybe Josh Willingham that everyone was anticipating last July never materialized, and when D.C. GM Mike Rizzo was asked what happened, he told reporters that the Nationals were, "...on the receiving end of the calls, we weren't making the calls, we got a lot of interest in Adam [Dunn] and just didn't see an equal return to what Adam Dunn brings to the ballclub on and off the field." What Dunn eventually ended up bringing to Washington, after he signed as a free agent with the Chicago White Sox, was two draft picks, no.'s 23 and 34 overall this June, which the Nats used to select University of Kentucky right-hander Alex Meyer and Miami Dade College outfielder Brian Goodwin, respectively.
Had there been interesting in Willingham? The Nats' general manager told the D.C. press corps there had been, "Yes. He was a very popular item to discuss," Rizzo said, "There were serious inquiries for Josh Willingham and we didn't feel that we got the return back to feel good about moving him." The return the Nationals ended up receiving in December, when they dealt Willingham to Oakland (for RHP Henry "Lightning" Rodriguez and OF Corey Brown) Rizzo told reporters (including NatsInsider.com's Mark Zuckerman), "...was a better package than we got last year at the trade deadline for Josh."
Henry Rodriguez is as advertised, exciting, occasionally wild, and intermittently filthy with 10.22 K/9, 6.93 BB/9, a 2.19 ERA, 3.10 FIP, .216 BAA, and a 317 BABIP in 22 games and 24.2 IP. Corey Brown, at Triple-A Syracuse, has a .213/.319/.389 slash line in 70 games and 211 at bats with Washington's top affiliate after struggling when the A's had him in Triple-A in 2010. Willingham's currently on the DL, and has a .231/.307/.410 slash with 11 doubles and 10 HR's in 257 plate appearances.
The trades the Nationals did make at the 2010 Deadline sent reliever/closer Matt Capps, who was an All-Star for the Nationals before he was dealt, to Minnesota for Wilson Ramos, the Twins' top backstop prospect who's already taken over the majority of the playing time behind the plate with the Nats, and sent Cristian Guzman (who's out of baseball) to Texas for right-handed pitchers Ryan Tatusko (now with Triple-A Syracuse) and Tanner Roark (starting with Double-A Harrisburg).
The previous year, at the first July Deadline with D.C. GM Mike Rizzo at the helm, the Nationals traded first baseman Nick Johnson to the Marlins for Aaron Thompson, who was eventually claimed off waivers from the Nats' organization by the Pittsburgh Pirates, and sent Joe Beimel to Colorado for a then-injured RHP Ryan Mattheus, who's currently in the Nationals' bullpen, and RHP Robinson Fabian.
This year's big rumor? According to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (who joins FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal and Boston Globe writer Nick Cafardo in reporting this) the Nationals, "...are looking to get a center fielder and have demonstrated interest in B.J. Upton in the past," as Mr. Olney wrote this morning in an article entitled, "Previewing trade season in the NL."
Nats' General Manager Mike Rizzo told MLB.com's Bill Ladson the Nationals would be "...both buyers and sellers. We always have been, always will be," in an article yesterday entitled, "Nats assessing market for potential deal", in which Tyler Clippard and Todd Coffey are once again mentioned as potential targets for other teams with the Nats in search of a center fielder, leadoff man and starting pitching.
Will the injury to Jerry Hairston, Jr., and the absence of a right-handed hitting outfielder on the roster or in the system who can immediately replace him since he'll be out 2-to-4 weeks, force the Nationals to make a deal for an outfielder sooner rather than later in this month? Will the Nats just bring Rick Ankiel back and overload the 25-Man roster with left-handed hitting outfielders? Will the teams out there looking for a right-handed reliever make an offer Rizzo can't refuse.
Jason Marquis? Does he re-sign in D.C. or get traded at the deadline? Do the Nats trade Livan Hernandez, again? How about a seemingly stalled starter like Craig Stammen? Laynce Nix? 30 days of rumors and anonymous sources, team officials and persons with knowledge of events who are unable to go on the record because of the ongoing nature of the discussions...Where's this year's Wilson Ramos? Who'll still be in D.C. a month from today?