The Washington Times - June 19, 2011, 01:32PM

The Nationals have won eight in a row and are one game under .500 as they get set to open a Father’s Day matchup with the Orioles with a chance to reach the break-even mark for the first time since May 11. 

They’re tied for third place in the National League East and just 3 1/2 game back in the NL Wild Card standings but none of that will change their plans for this season, general manager Mike Rizzo said today.

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“I have a plan and a vision of what we’d like the team to look like this year and at the end of this year into next year,” Rizzo said. “So our plans won’t change. We’ll have the same strategy as far as the trade deadline and that type of thing.”

The Nationals have several veteran players who do not have deals after this season that would qualify as valuable trade candidates — including right-hander Jason Marquis, catcher Ivan Rodriguez and right-hander Livan Hernandez. Marquis leads the pack with a 7-2 record and 3.86 ERA. 

Clearly, any of those three guys would be appealing to the right contender but the Nationals are in a precarious position right now because if their torrid play continues they may be on the brink of contention when the trade deadline rolls around and cause them to rethink the return for trading away players like that.