ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) tweeted this afternoon that the Washington Nationals, "... will move [Jason] Marquis, Livan [Hernandez] or [Tom] Gorzelanny," while noting that since, "Their ERAs are all between 4.05 and 4.09," none of the pitchers are going to provide the boost any team interested in pitching is looking for on the market, or in Twitter-hash-tag-ese, "#sorrynotdifferencemakers."
MLB.com's Peter Gammons wrote yesterday in an article entitled, "Talks, tweets abound as Deadline looms", about the Trade Deadline in the age of Twitter and the effect rumors large or small can have on players this time of year since any and all rumors are given credence in today's everyone's-an-expert-with-sources-who-hear-things world of online journalism. Mr. Gammons' sources tell him, "Washington isn't selling, except for Tyler Clippard; instead, they keep asking for Michael Bourn -- thus far without success -- and had been one of several teams interested in Julio Borbon until his recent injury."
FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal's sources tell him that the Nats' All-Star set-up man Tyler Clippard's drawn interest from the Texas Rangers' who've made no secret of their desire to add bullpen arms, but much like the Oakland Athletics with closer Andrew Bailey, Mr. Rosenthal writes it will take an "overwhelming offer" for Washington to even consider parting with the 26-year-old right-handed reliever whose 11.26 K/9, 1.82 ERA, 3.37 WHIP, .178 BABIPA and .148 BAA this season no doubt have other teams out there interested.
Mercury News' San Francisco Giants beat writer Andrew Baggarly, wrote this weekend in an article entitled, "POSTGAME NOTES: The latest on Carlos Beltran, and will Nationals budge on PUDGE", that, "The Nationals don’t need [Pudge], he has experience in a pennant stretch, and he’ll get a glowing recommendation from new Giants special assignment scout Jim Riggleman," but as the title of the article hinted, the Nationals aren't willing to part with Pudge if the return isn't worth more than the veteran catcher is to the Nats. When the Giants have reached out in the past, Mr. Baggarly wrote, "... they didn’t get a response from GM Mike Rizzo. But I guess they aren’t the only folks who’ve had that problem with him."
According to D.C. GM Mike Rizzo, as he explained to MLB.com's Bill Ladson in a mid-June Q&A, the Nationals, "... are both buyers and sellers. We always have been, always will be. If we have a chance to acquire a player that is going to help us in 2011 and beyond, we are not going to shy away from that."
As the Nats surged toward .500 with an 8-game win streak in June, the General Manager told Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore, in an article entitled, "Mike Rizzo says the Nationals’ winning streak will not change his approach to the trade deadline," that there's been a plan in place that no winning or losing streak will alter, "Our plans won’t change. We’ll have the same strategy as far as the trade deadline and that type of thing."
The Nats' GM was just reiterating what he's said all along, what he said last year when teams inquired about Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham and early this year when talk of team's interest in Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez surfaced. Rizzo, as quoted by Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore in an article entitled, "Mike Rizzo won’t trade Ivan Rodriguez for a ‘quick fix’", said that, "...somebody would have to come up with a piece that would help us in our long-term future."
As FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal writes again this afternoon, in an article entltled, "The Nats: Ready to deal?", the Nationals want another Wilson Ramos. That's the sort of impact piece that will help them "long-term." The parallels between Matt Capps (dealt to Minnesota for Ramos last July) and Tyler Clippard are obvious as both pitchers had strong first-halves and made profile-raising All-Star appearances as the deadline approached. It's a center fielder the Nats are looking for this year, according to Mr. Rosenthal, "Potential targets include the Rays’ B.J. Upton, Astros’ Michael Bourn, Cardinals’ Colby Rasmus and Twins’ Denard Span, sources say."
And it's not just Clippard that has other teams interested. The bow-tied FOXSports.com reporter says teams are also asking about 23-year-old 2010 1st Round pick Drew Storen, "as well as a lesser right-hander, Todd Coffey, major-league sources say." They also say teams are asking about the Nats' middle infielders, according to Mr. Rosenthal, who points to the presence of second baseman Steve Lombardozzi at Triple-A Syracuse and his,".815 OPS at Double A and Triple A," as a reason Washington might consider an offer for Ian Desmond."
D.C. GM Mike Rizzo has praised Desmond's range publically, given Desmond, now 25, and Danny Espinosa a chance to grow at the major league level. He gave Pudge Rodriguez a two-year deal at well-over market value to bring him to Washington to stabilize the catching situation. He signed Jason Marquis to a two-year deal, and has only gotten one-year's worth of work out of the right-hander who could fit nicely toward the back of a Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann-led rotation. He traded for Tyler Clippard and watched him transition from starter to All-Star reliever. He traded three prospects for Tom Gorzelanny and put him back on the mound as a starter after he'd bounced between the rotation and bullpen in Chicago. Marquis and Rodriguez have both publically expressed a desire to stay in D.C., but the GM's shown a willingness to deal when an "impactful" prospect is offered.
Just like they were during the Hot Stove action this winter, the Washington Nationals are going to be players on the trade market this year. They're a few pieces away from contention in a lot of people's eyes, and they have a collection of prospects and veterans that will no doubt interest other teams, but unless they're willing to give up the next "Wilson Ramos" it might just be more angry GM's like the White Sox's Ken Williams, more national baseball writers screaming, "Why the **** didn't they trade Dunn?", and more teams wondering, "Why won't they deal Pudge already", or return our calls? The rest of the league might just have to get used to the fact that Nationals aren't rebuilding anymore, but building toward contention.
[Rizzo points to Alex Meyer, Brian Goodwin, (if they sign), to Wilson Ramos and then to his head.]