While many potential trades were rumored, and others were explored by General Manager Mike Rizzo, the Washington Nationals remained relatively quiet at the trade deadline. Washington made only one trade, acquiring Asdrubal Cabrera from the Cleveland Indians. The next couple of months will tell if the addition of Cabrera is enough to propel the Nationals into World Series contention, or if additional moves should have been made.
In my opinion, the acquisition of Cabrera made perfect sense for the Nationals. The loss of Ryan Zimmerman left the club with a need for another infielder, and the Nats were able to add Cabrera without paying a significant price. Washington sent shortstop Zach Walters to Cleveland, while the Indians also agreed to pay the remaining $3 million on Cabrera’s contract.
Though the Nationals filled a need at the deadline, the team still has question marks heading into the dog days of August. The bullpen, which was so reliable at the beginning of the season, has struggled recently. Aaron Barrett was recently sent to AAA to work out some kinks, while the organization hopes left handed reliever Jerry Blevins can fix his issues at the Major League level.
Blevins currently possesses a 5.31 ERA, but after getting him from Oakland in the offseason, he will have many chances to get meaningful innings with the big league club. However, if his struggles continue well into August, Rizzo may attempt to trade for a reliever who passes through waivers.
If the Nationals believe they need another reliever for the postseason, Tony Sipp of the Houston Astros could be a possible trade target. Former starter Ross Detwiler, another left hander, has shown improvement in recent weeks meaning he could see more high leverage innings as a lefty specialist. Assuming Rizzo does not believe a left hander is needed, Koji Uehara of the Boston Red Sox could be someone the Nationals inquire on.
The Nationals did a solid job of filling a present need while not sacrificing the future at this year’s trade deadline. However, if unforeseen circumstances cause the Nationals to need another piece, do not be surprised if Rizzo pulls the trigger and makes another deal.