WASHINGTON – For the second time in less than five years, the Nationals have traded two young pitchers to the Pirates for a Major League veteran.
During the 2016 season, Washington sent Taylor Hearn and Felipe Rivera (now Vázquez) to Pittsburgh for veteran reliever Mark Melancon.
Hearn pitched for Texas in 2020, while Vazquez, a former All-Star, didn’t pitch in the majors last season.
Then last month the Nationals sent Wil Crowe and Eddie Yean to the Steel City for switch-hitting first baseman Josh Bell. It takes years to evaluate the success of a trade from both sides – so we will hold off on the Bell deal for now.
But in that spirit, here is our look here at, in our opinion, the best trades made by the Nationals in the past 10 years:
1. Obtaining Trea Turner and Joe Ross:
In December 2014, the Nationals acquired Joe Ross and a player to be named later from the Padres in a three-way deal with Tampa Bay.
The Rays acquired outfielder Steven Souza from the Nationals. The player to be named later for the Nationals was Trea Turner.
Turner became the everyday shortstop for Washington after the reign of Ian Desmond at that spot. Ross has become a Major League starting pitcher though opting out of the 2020 season due to pandemic concerns set him back. Both Turner and Ross played key roles in the 2019 World Series run – Turner has become one of the best in the business at short.
2. Obtaining Wilson Ramos:
In July 2010, the Nationals sent reliever Matt Capps and cash to the Twins for Wilson Ramos and Joe Testa.
Ramos became an All-Star catcher for the Nationals and helped the team to postseason spots in 2012 and 2014 – even though he was injured at the end of the season in 2012.
3. Obtaining Denard Span:
In November 2012, the Nationals sent right-hander pitcher Alex Meyer to the Twins for Span.
A lefty-hitting outfielder, Span had a nice run in center field for the Nationals for three years and led the league in hits in 2014 with 184. Meyer did make the majors with the Twins and also pitched for the Angels before he retired prior to age 30.
4. Obtaining Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson:
In July 2017, the Nationals sent pitchers Jesús Luzardo and Blake Treinen and infielder Sheldon Neuse to Oakland for relievers Doolittle and Madson.
This is a case of a trade that helped both teams, as Treinen became an All-Star and Luzardo was a key pitcher for the playoff team in Oakland in 2020.
Doolittle was with Washington for parts of four seasons – a nice run these days for a reliever – and formed a World Series-winning duo with Daniel Hudson.
Madson was traded in 2018 to the Dodgers for pitcher Andrew Istler, who had a strong year in 2019 split between Single-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg.
5. Obtaining Yan Gomes:
In November 2018, the Nationals sent young pitcher Jefry Rodriguez and outfielder Daniel Johnson to the Indians for Gomes.
Johnson was one of the top minor leaguers of 2019, while Rodriguez pitched in 10 games with eight starts for the Indians in 2019 and was recently re-signed by the Nationals.
Gomes formed a nice combination with Kurt Suzuki for the World Series champs in 2019 and figures to be one of two main catchers for Washington in 2021.
6. Obtaining Tanner Roark:
In July 2010, Washington received right-handed pitchers Tanner Roark and Ryan Tatusko from the Rangers for infielder Cristian Guzman. Roark became a dependable starter in the rotation for the Nationals before he was dealt to the Reds after the 2018 season for hard-throwing reliever Tanner Rainey. Roark pitched for the Blue Jays last season.