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Nats Lunchbox: Will The Washington Nationals Trade For Starting Pitching?

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July 20, 2012; Washington, D.C. USA; Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg (37) throws a pitch in the game against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE
July 20, 2012; Washington, D.C. USA; Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg (37) throws a pitch in the game against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE

CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman has the Washington Nationals as one of three teams showing interest in Chicago Cubs' right-hander Ryan Dempster. Though ESPN.com's Jayson Stark too has the Nationals interested in Dempster and three or four other pitchers, his colleague, Buster Olney wrote before John Lannan's strong start this weekend that the Nationals view the veteran left-hander as a legitimate option to fill in once Stephen Strasburg's shut down for the season. ESPN's Mr. Stark wrote last week that an "executive" from another team told him the Nationals were focused on finding, "'... a veteran guy with a track record' but not 'a guy they'd have to give up a lot for -- more like a No. 4 or No. 5 starter.'"

D.C. GM Mike Rizzo told reporters last week that the Nationals were always open to deals that help the team long-term, but the Nationals don't seem too interested in making a deal for a "rental" player that is going to cost them prospects and then walk at the end of the year. "'We’re looking for long-term more than short-term,'" the general manager told the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore, "'If it helps us and it fits into our plans going forward, then we’ll do it.'" Asked about all the rumors that have his team looking for pitching, Nats' skipper Davey Johnson told reporters this weekend that he thought the Nationals could win with what they have. In an article by the Washington Times' Amanda Comak, the 69-year-old skipper said, "'It becomes a question of 'Why pick up a pitcher or something?'":

"'Well we've got other options. We don't have to ship away a couple talented minor leaguers for somebody. That's not a wise move for a month, whatever.'"

Will the Nationals make a move for a starting pitcher to fill in for Stephen Strasburg when he's eventually shut down? CSNWashington.com's Chase Hughes (@ChaseHughes) and the District Sports Page's Dave Nichols (@NationalsDSP) and I talked pitching this weekend in Nationals Park: