On this past Wednesday's edition of 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s The Mike Rizzo Show with Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo and 106.7 hosts Danny Rouhier and Grant Paulsen, Washington's general manager was asked what the defending NL East Champs might be looking for as the July 31st Non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches.
"You look at the ballclub," the 52-year-old GM and Executive VP of Baseball Ops explained, "I like our starting rotation. I like our bullpen. We're solidified at eight positions. Possibly tweaking of a bench player. Maybe getting a big pinch hit type of guy, left-handed or right-handed, that may help us. But we like the team we have and we feel like this team, as is, right now, if we play up to our capabilities, we should be playing meaningful games in September and beyond. That was our goal going into Spring Training. That's still our goal, that's our focus. And we feel that that's still a thing that we're striving for."
When Washington completed a sweep of the three-game set with the San Diego Padres on Sunday afternoon in Nationals Park, manager Davey Johnson talked about what had changed in the last few weeks as the team was starting to produce offensively after struggling throughout the first half of the 2013 season. Johnson mentioned injuries to the pitching staff, difficulty scoring runs and even defensive issues for what was one of the strongest teams in the league defensively last season.
"All that comes into play, and in a lot of those areas," Johnson said, "we haven't been up to speed. The makeup and the effort has been there, but we just haven't done the things we're capable of -- whether it was, say the pressure of being arguably one of the teams picked to go the farthest, we didn't handle it that well and the young guys that were really strong last year have been affected the most. My bench was terrific last year, this year it's been..."
Johnson trailed off.
Late Sunday night the Nationals made an addition to their bench when they acquired 33-year-old, 10-year veteran Scott Hairston from the Chicago Cubs in a deal that is reportedly for a "minor league pitcher" whose name has not yet been announced.
FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal wrote Sunday night that Hairston, who signed a 2-year/$5M contract last February will likely fill the role Tyler Moore's struggled in this season as the Nats' backup outfielder and right-handed bat off the bench. CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman wrote on Twitter that the pitcher the Nationals will send to the Cubs will be from Class-A ball:
can confirm cubs have traded scott hairston to nats for an a-ball pitcher, as @Ken_Rosenthal reported— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) July 8, 2013
ESPN.com's Buster Olney liked the deal for the Nationals:
Nice, cheap add by the Nationals to get Scott Hairston, who will help balance their bench. He didn't play much with the Cubs.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 8, 2013
Hairston homered in a pinch hit appearance Sunday night for Chicago, leaving him with a .172/.232/.434 line, two doubles and eight home runs on the year. Hairston has just 112 plate appearances with the Cubs so far this season. In his career, he has a .268/.317/.496 line against left-handed pitchers.