I recently said that the Washington Nationals should not consider making a major trade at this year’s deadline. However, a recent rumor regarding General Manager Mike Rizzo’s potential plans may have changed my mind. The Nationals may need a shortstop. Not a shortstop who would immediately replace Ian Desmond, but someone who could replace him if he decides to leave the organization at the end of the 2015 season.
This past offseason Ian Desmond turned down a reported offer of $85-98 million over seven years. If Washington does not offer a salary that more accurately represents Desmond’s play on the field, the current Nats shortstop will most likely finish his career else where.
Desmond has previously stated that he is not playing baseball solely for the money, and that he believes he will finish his career in Washington. Unfortunately this assumption is far from guaranteed, and without any definite future major league shortstops in the minors, the Nationals may look to acquire a close to big league ready shortstop at this years trade deadline.
If Washington does succeed in adding another shortstop, it does not need to be someone who is currently ready for the majors. Because Desmond is under contract through 2015, the Nationals would not need another shortstop until the 2016 season.
An organization that may be willing to trade one of their shortstops is the Arizona Diamondbacks. Washington could target Didi Gregorious, Nick Ahmed, and Chris Owings. To entice the D-Backs into moving one of these players, Washington may look to trade catcher Sandy Leon or outfielder Steven Souza Jr.
In all honesty, I believe the Nationals will extend Desmond’s contract at some point in the near future. This does not mean they will not attempt to acquire another shortstop, as this is a position of weakness within the Nationals’ current farm system. Hopefully Rizzo is able to trade a minor league outfielder or catcher in order to properly balance Washington’s minor league rosters and prepare for the future.