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Wire Taps: Nationals owe their players some help; Anthony Rendon likely to go to free agency; Erick Fedde struggles

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Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news before the finale with the Braves...

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MLB: Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning. The Nationals have until 4 PM today to do the following things:

  • Trade for a reliever
  • Trade for another reliever
  • Trade (potentially) for a starter
  • Trade (potentially) for some bench help/a backup first baseman
  • Stay under the luxury tax

If they miss out on any of it, then they likely won’t get a shot at improving things until December, which, in case you were wondering, falls after the playoffs. Low stress day ahead.

Here’s the news from Nationals Park, where, Rizzo willing, the Nats will acquire at least one reliever today:

At the trade deadline, the Nationals owe their rejuvenated players a shot in the arm (The Athletic)
After going 38-19 over nine weeks, the Nationals need to consider everyone in the farm system as a moveable prospect for the purposes of getting the team into October — because these players aren't getting any younger at the major league level, and there's no longer a lengthy pipeline of big-league ready players. (David Aldridge also gets something that makes a lot of sense: what's another few million dollars when the starting rotation is worth more than a half billion dollars?)

As trade deadline looms, Nationals’ needs look glaring in loss to Braves (WaPo)
The Nats need help in the bullpen, no doubt about it. But they also desperately need a starter to slot into the fifth spot of the rotation — even if they're just a mediocre fill-in that gets the team through five innings of four-run ball — who will give the team a fighting shot at winning every fifth game while Max Scherzer is injured.

Jamming at the Plate: Baseball Players and Their Walk-up Songs (Fangraphs)
From Federal Baseball's own Audrey Stark, an in-depth analysis of what songs players like the best and why Johnny Cash gets played as hype music year after year.

Anthony Rendon increasingly likely to test free agency | 106.7 The Fan
"I don't know. I still think it's up in the air," Rendon said. "I mean, we haven't heard from the front office in a few weeks or a month now, and we haven't had an offer, I don't believe, in a little bit longer than that. But, I mean, if you're giving me the opportunity, and saying I'm this close from going to go car shopping, from multiple lots, instead of staying in one lot, I mean, what would you do?" (Note: Rendon says there's definitely a number where he would sign with the Nats, no questions asked.)

No longer up for debate: The Nationals need to add a starter before the deadline (The Athletic)
The Nationals have to deal with two empty spots in the rotation, which Erick Fedde and Joe Ross currently fill. That is not a recipe for success in any sense of the word. They need a plan B, C, and D, and they need it now, because there's no sense in rushing Max Scherzer back again.

Teheran's action on fastball made Nats' at-bats tough (MASN)
For some reason, Julio Teheran has become impossible to hit for these Nationals, who once teed off on his pitches with alarming regularity. Now, with a new arm angle and improved action on the fastball, loads of players—Trea Turner, for example—can't keep up with him.

Patrick Corbin’s slider hits another level in Nationals’ win over Braves (WaPo)
"Corbin got 18 swings and misses with his slider across six innings. That’s the most any pitcher has with a slider this season. That’s also the second-most any pitcher has in four seasons, since some guy named — wait for it — Patrick Corbin got 21 whiffs on his slider on June 22, 2018."

Bruised foot still sore, Adams out of lineup again (MASN)
Yet again, Matt Adams was sidelined due to his foot, which still hasn't healed 48 hours after he bruised it.

Rotation questions abound after Fedde blasted by Braves (MASN)
“One of these two guys has got to step up,” manager Davey Martinez said. “They have to step up. I’ve said it before: We feel like they belong here, but they’ve got to start making pitches and keeping us in the ballgame.”

The updated Bowden Big Board: With one day to go, who’s still available and where might they fit? (The Athletic)
Shane Greene, Tony Watson, Sam Dyson, Justin Smoak, and a few other names might make sense on the Nats, Bowden says.

Fedde, Nats stumble in Scherzer's absence (MLB.com)
“It’s never fun to let your team down,” Fedde said. “It’s one of those ones where I look at it as, "Just don’t let it happen again.' [I'll] go to the drawing board tomorrow and really look at where I struggled, but for right now, just kind of get past it.”