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Taking stock at the trade deadline: who came and went and what Nationals GM Mike Rizzo had to say about it

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Now that the trade deadline has past and the dust, league-wide, is beginning to settle, here’s a look at who came and went from the Nationals recently:

New Nationals:

Jonny Gomes - OF, MLB

Erik Komatsu (for Jerry Hairston Jr.) - OF, Double-A Harrisburg, from Milwaukee Brewers; 2010 Brewers Minor League Player of the Year

Zachary Walters (for Jason Marquis) - INF, Single-A Potomac, from Arizona Diamondbacks

Traded away:

Jerry Hairston Jr: UTIL, MLB - sent to the Milwaukee Brewers Saturday morning for Komatsu

Jason Marquis: RHP, MLB - sent to the Arizona Diamondbacks Saturday evening for Walters

Bill Rhinehart: OF, Double-A - sent to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for Gomes

Chris Manno: LHP, Low Single-A - sent to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for Gomes

Non-trade roster movement:

Matt Stairs: (PH) Designated for Assignment to clear room for Gomes

Yunesky Maya: (RHP) Recalled from Triple-A Syracuse for spot start Saturday night in place of traded Marquis; optioned Sunday.

Atahualpa Severino: (LHP) Recalled from Triple-A Syracuse on Sunday for bullpen reinforcement, expected to be optioned back to the minor leagues shortly.

Brian Bixler: (UTIL) Recalled from Triple-A Syracuse on Saturday to fill spot vacated on active roster by trade of Hairston.

Chien-Ming Wang: (RHP) Activated from the disabled list Friday and added to the starting rotation.

Roger Bernadina: (OF) Optioned to Triple-A Syracuse on Friday to clear roster space for Wang.

Ross Detwiler: Moved from the bullpen into the starting rotation to make a start Thursday in Colorado.

Tom Gorzelanny: Moved from the starting rotation to the bullpen to clear room for Wang in rotation, expected to remain there for the time being with Detwiler starting in place of traded Marquis.

– The deadline also brought to an end all of the rumors and speculation that had been permeating the Nationals clubhouse for the past two weeks. When it was over, Ian Desmond was still the team’s shortstop, Drew Storen still their closer, Tyler Clippard and Todd Coffey still in the bullpen and Livan Hernandez still a member of the starting rotation.

Here’s some of what Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo had to say about the trade deadline and what did or did not transpire for his team:

On not acquiring the leadoff-hitting center fielder they were looking for, specifically the rumored trade between the Nationals and the Twins that would feature a Drew Storen for Denard Span swap: I wouldn’t describe it as disappointing. We did a lot of work on it. We worked extremely hard to do the right thing and get the right player for the right return. It just didn’t match up. It’s frustrating at times, but you can’t make a deal just to make a deal. The players that we were going to have to give up in return in our minds just didn’t fulfill what we were trying to do for the long term.

Drew is asked for by just about every team we talk to. I’ve said from Day 1 that he’s a cornerstone of the organization and he’s asked for by every team that we talked to as the first name brought up. But it’d have to be a special deal to make that work because he’s a special performer in a premium position. It just didn’t match up to our liking.

I’m not going to describe it as disappointment. It’s a lot of hours and a lot of hard work when you’re trying to put a plan in place and then it doesn’t work, there’s a sense of relief on one hand but a little bit of frustration on the other.

On how active the team was on the final day: We had ongoing discussions with three or four teams and we were engaged toward the end with one team and the deal just didn’t work out to our liking so we didn’t make the deal.

We got to a very specific stage toward the deadline today but it was to the point where we would have had to give in to their demand of certain players and we just didn’t feel good about doing it.

On his satisfaction with the construction of his major league roster as is: We have to always keep tweaking, we always have to keep improving. We’re never satisfied with anything. We have to keep tweaking it and we’re going to work hard to do it but the group of players in this room, I’ve got a deep admiration for all of them and really enjoy being around them. I think we’re a really good ball club but we can always get better.

On why no deals were made Sunday: All these deals, it’s give and take. What are you getting back and what are you giving up? We felt that we couldn’t come to a deal that we were getting back enough for what we were giving up. The quality of players, the youth of the players, the control of the players, the contract of the players, it wasn’t enough in return for us to be satisfied to make the trade.

On needing to find a long-term answer for their center field spot: We’re always going to be looking for that, we’re going to be creative in ways to try and find it. We’re always trying to develop our own and we have several players in the pipeline. They’re not immediate answers right now but we feel that we have future answers at the position and that was one of the reasons I didn’t feel like taking a short-term approach to the position. We’ve got guys in the system that will be fine every day center fielders in the future but they’re going to be down the road a year or two. For us to bridge the gap with a one-year plan didn’t work for me for the players that we’d have to give up and the money we’d have to spend. 

On if the team expects to be active during the August waiver trading period: We’re always going to be active. We’re an aggressive staff here, I’m an aggressive GM and if it calls for us to make a deal that will improve us long term we definitely will.

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About the Author
Amanda Comak

Amanda Comak

Amanda Comak covers the Washington Nationals and comes to The Washington Times from the Cape Cod Times and after stints with MLB.com and the Amsterdam (N.Y.) Recorder. A Massachusetts native and 2008 graduate of Boston University, Amanda can be reached at acomak@washingtontimes.com and you can follow her on Twitter @acomak.

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