When the Washington Nationals missed out on Aroldis Chapman this week, Dusty Baker told reporters that he was disappointed that he wouldn't be reunited with the hard-throwing lefty who debuted in the majors with the Cincinnati Reds while Baker was their manager.
"Disappointing," Baker said, as quoted by MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince. "Would've liked to have him."
While Baker was interested in a reunion with Chapman, he said last week that generally speaking, he doesn't pay too much attention to the chatter that precedes the non-waiver trade deadline.
"I don't listen to the rumors or speculation too much, because it still takes two to make a deal," he explained.
"Just because you're in need of this player, that doesn't mean that they're going to give you that player and it doesn't mean that you have the players to give them or either they want to take all your top minor league prospects, or if a guy is a rental player, or a guy is under contract, it's a little more complicated now than it used to be.
"Do you take his money? Do you split the money? There's all kinds of stuff that they do upstairs that I'm not really privileged to, but I understand it all.
"Sometimes you want them to trade, I mean, big time, and then other times -- I remember we traded Darryl Hamilton for Ellis Burks and he almost cried, that's the last thing [Hamilton] wanted, to leave our team with the Giants, but Ellis was the happiest man in the world to come to us at that time. There's more involved than just the trade."
If the Nationals aren't able to acquire the back-end reliever that they're reportedly after, they could potentially look within for bullpen help with hard-throwing right-handers Reynaldo Lopez and Koda Glover, two pitchers who have debuted in the majors this season who could provide help.
Baker talked after Lopez, 22, made his MLB debut, about the value of getting a good look at some of the prospects in the organization with his own eyes so he can play a part in important decisions down the line.
Having the young arms from the Nats' system up gives them an opportunity to test themselves at the major league level and show their manager and the rest of the baseball world what they can do.
Lopez, in particular, got the experience of pitching in a big league ballpark before he debuted for the Nationals when he pitched in the All-Star Futures Game in San Diego's Petco Park earlier this month, which Baker said was a good experience for the pitcher.
"That helps your confidence and also helps you play in a big stadium that you're going to be playing in. And yeah, that helps me have a vote and have a genuine vote. If we get in a room and we say, 'Who do we think can be a September call-up?' Am I voting on numbers or what somebody else told me or am I voting possibly on what I see? I'd rather vote on what I see, you know, even if it's just a glimpse of that person."
Baker was impressed with the glimpse he got of Glover too, when the righty threw two innings in relief before he was returned to Triple-A Syracuse.
"He throws strikes, he pounds the strike zone," Baker said. "He has good movement on the cutter. We haven't seen really his dynamite changeup yet, or slider, but he comes right after them."
Baker told Glover that he might not be up for long this time, but said that he thought the 2015 Draft pick had a bright future ahead of him.
"He's going to be here for a long time, barring injury, because he's a good body guy, he has a quick arm and he comes right after them."
As he told Lopez before the righty made his MLB debut, they don't necessarily have to go back down to the minors. It's up to them.
"If you perform well at a high level for a period of time then you've got a chance," Baker said.
"I give all young guys a chance and it's up to them. All I can do is give you the opportunity.
"I tell them, just like I told young Lopez yesterday, I said, 'Hey, man, I was there in 2002 when [Francisco] Rodriguez was coming up with the Angels and he was a September call-up and then he ended up being a World Series hero.'"
Rodriguez didn't come up until mid-September that year, and he had all of 5 ⅔ innings of experience in the majors before he went on to throw 18 ⅔ IP in the postseason, posting a 1.93 ERA for the World Series-winning LA Angels, who beat Baker's San Francisco Giants to win it all.
If the Nationals don't find the right deal, they do have options, on the major league roster and within the organization.
Guest blogger @federalbaseball explores Nationals' in-house bullpen options. https://t.co/nW5j32KxZg #IBackTheNats— Nationals on MASN (@masnNationals) July 29, 2016