Longtime reader, first time poster here at Federal Baseball. I'm not using this post to try and push fantasy moves, but rather try and make real analysis on what this team could do this next week or so.
1. P Jason Marquis - The Nats plan on building their pitching staff around Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmerman, and Brad Peacock. Zimmerman is arguably their best pitcher right now, Peacock should make his MLB debut later this year, and we have seen what Strasburg is able to do. John Lannan and Livan Hernandez are proven veterans who eat innings and keep the team in games. Marquis, who was terrible this year, has pitched very well this year. He's only on a two year deal so he's probably walking anyways given what the Nats have coming up and back next year. He's 8-4 and an ERA under 4. A contending team looking for a back end starter to help bulk up their rotation would be interested.
Potential Teams: Detroit Tigers, St. Louis Cardinals, New York Yankees. Detroit has Justin Verlander, but needs more help behind him. The Cardinals are on the brink right now if they are going to go all in at a run for the division or not. The Yankees are in the thick of it in the AL and are actively looking for a starter. They want Jimenez from Colorado, but its might be too much and Marquis could come much cheaper.
2. C Ivan Rodriguez - Something has to give at catcher. With Wilson Ramos and Pudge in the bigs and Jesus Flores and Derek Norris in the minors, something has to give. I personally don't want to see Pudge leave because I think the team should hire him as their manager next year, but that's just me. Rodriguez still has some pop in his bat, and even for as long as he's played, he is a top-flight defensive catcher who can handle a staff from veterans to rookie phenoms. He brings leadership and a championship experience.
Potential Teams: San Fransisco Giants, Tampa Bay Rays, Pittsburgh Pirates. Obviously, the loss of Buster Posey hurt the Giants, but they have stayed in first place. Pudge would bring some old school meddle to this team, and could fit right in with their outstanding pitchers. The Rays, much like the Cardinals, are going to have to decide whether they are in or out this year. Pittsburgh is having a dream season and they have a very young team, and a veteran like Rodriguez could help guide this team as it makes its first division title run in a generation.
3. OF Rick Ankiel - The outfield is something that has been a crapshoot for the Nats. Jayson Werth has been the only player to firmly set their feet in the outfield. Ankiel, Roger Bernadina, Laynce Nix, and even Brian Bixler have spent time in the outfield. Ankiel has shown very good defensive range, a strong arm, and a decent bat. A contender looking for defensive help might take a look at Ankiel to add veteran depth.
Potential Teams: Cleveland Indians, St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Angels. The Indians are dealing with injuries to Shin Soo Choo and Travis Hafner, adding Ankiel again brings depth to the outfield and some defensive skills. The Redbirds haven't been happy with Colby Rasmus and lack depth in the outfield. The Angels are going with a rookie in center field and a little depth could help.
4. Laynce Nix - I think there are some American League teams that would be very interested in adding Nix's suddenly active bat this year. He's got a good stat line for a bench player and a team close and needing some pop might take a run at Nix.
Potential Teams: New York Yankees, San Fransisco Giants, Tampa Bay Rays. The Yankees haven't received much from the DH position this year, with Jorge Posada's best days clearly behind him. The Giants are seemingly always chronically short on power and they are thin in the outfield so Nix could be a nice fit there. The Rays are similar too the Giants, but are again going to have to decide where they go this year.
Possible other names.
Ian Desmond: With the drafting of Anthony Rendon, Desmond - who's bat has never caught up to the big leagues - could be expendable.
Roger Bernadina: Speed kills, and with Bryce Harper looming the Shark might be expendable.
Livan Hernandez: The guy is a big game pitcher who has been in the World Series twice (Marlins and Giants), knows every trick in the book, and pitched well enough this year where - like Marquis - he could have played himself onto the back end of a contender's staff.
The Nationals are in a nice position. They have core nucleus of strong talent: R. Zimmerman, Espinosa, Morse, Storen, Clippard, and Ramos. They have studs in the farm system. They played well enough this year that these veterans have some real value and the Nats can start to build for next year.