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Washington Nationals Rumors: Will Nats upgrade bullpen at Trade Deadline?

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Washington Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo talked to MLB Network Radio on Sunday about the Nats' thinking heading into the Non-Waiver Trade Deadline, which is on August 1st this season instead of July 31st. What will the Nationals do?

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In just the last few days, both Tampa Bay Times' writer Marc Topkin and MLB.com's Bill Chastain have reported on the presence of scouts from the Washington Nationals at Rays games.

Washington Post columnist Barry Svrluga reported that scouts from the New York Yankees were seen watching the Nationals' Triple-A affiliate this weekend and were expected in D.C. this week.

"We've shown in the past we're not afraid to pull the trigger and make a trade to help ourselves, but it has to be the right opportunity..." -Nats' GM Mike Rizzo on approach to the trade deadline

The Nationals have been rumored to have interest in both Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller if the Yankees make them available.

Yahoo!Sports.com's Jeff Passan joined a number of reporters who've written recently that the Nationals have at least "checked in on" and expressed interest in Cincinnati Reds' slugger Jay Bruce.

MLB.com's Bill Ladson, in his recent preview of the upcoming Non-Waiver Trade Deadline, wrote that, "the Nationals will look to improve their bullpen, and maybe even add a bat to the starting lineup."

"If they do add a position player, it would likely be a corner outfielder," Ladson suggested.

A source Ladson spoke to told him, "Bullpen help is the top priority before the Deadline."

Meanwhile, all is relatively calm in NatsTown, where GM Mike "Run Silent" Rizzo and Co. in the Nationals' front office have been typically quiet about their intentions.

Rizzo did, however, speak to MLB Network Radio hosts Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette yesterday about Washington's needs as the August 1st deadline approaches.

He was asked where he saw room for improvement on the Nationals' roster.

"I like the club we have," Rizzo said.

"We're certainly not a perfect team and like all the contenders that I've talked to and what I've read about, we'd like to if possible upgrade our bullpen situation if we could find a value somewhere that not only gives us some help in 2016 but beyond a little bit. We would certainly consider that and I think as we look at the ballclub, we like our bench as it is and they're playing extremely well.

"Our rotation is deep and solid and our bullpen has been performing admirably. Offensively we're probably not as efficient as I'd like us to be..." -Nats' GM Mike Rizzo on MLB Network Radio on roster needs

"Our rotation is deep and solid and our bullpen has been performing admirably. Offensively we're probably not as efficient as I'd like us to be, but we're kind of finding ways to score some runs and different players are getting hot at different times and we think that if [Ryan Zimmerman] comes back to being Zim and [Bryce Harper] gets hot again we feel that there's some upgrade that we can have there."

That being said, Rizzo reiterated, the Nationals like the roster they've assembled.

"We like the team that we have. We don't think there are any major moves that we have to make, but if opportunity presents itself to become a better team we'll certainly look into it.

"We've shown in the past we're not afraid to pull the trigger and make a trade to help ourselves, but it has to be the right opportunity and not making a trade for trade's sake, but to improve our club."

So if the Nationals do look to bolster their bullpen will it be a major upgrade or will they add depth? And, he was asked, is there any concern about upsetting the chemistry among the relievers they already have?

"Either way, it's what's the ask?" Rizzo explained. "What's the give-up for us? If you're upgrading yourself in one spot, but kind of weakening yourself in another does it make sense for you? And if it's not broke, don't fix it-type of attitude, but I think that we've shown we'll be aggressive in the past."

"I see us kind of staying the same philosophy that we've had in the last couple of seasons," he continued, "and if there's a deal out there that makes sense we'll go for it and be aggressive with it.

"But we're not going to tinker with something that's been working so far for us, but we recognize that we're not a perfect ballclub and it's hard to become perfect but if we see an upgrade we'll do the homework on the makeup and how he fits with the staff, and in the clubhouse and that type of thing to make decisions on if it's worth the risk or not."