If there’s one thing Nationals manager Davey Johnson knows, it’s pennant races. Johnson’s teams are rarely not in them. So with the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline now just 11 days away, you’d think Johnson’s wish list for what his current team might need would be one to heed.
It’s not long. Johnson said Friday he doesn’t think the Nationals should mortgage the farm in order to acquire a player for a short-term rental. Especially on a team that he views as having “no glaring weakness.”
“I have gone into that area with general managers saying ‘I need so-and-so or this that and the other,’ but I like what we have here and I don’t see any emergency move needed,” Johnson said. “It’s always interesting to see who trades places. I imagine clubs that are probably trying to get to the top (unlike the Nationals who are in first place) will be more active.”
One of the the things the Nationals have been rumored to have the most interest in is acquiring another front-line starting pitcher to have for both September and the playoff run after they shut down ace Stephen Strasburg because of his innings limit. To this point, though, sources have said the stance on that line of thinking is this: The Nationals would be interested in adding a starter at the right price (like most teams) but only if that starter is of a certain caliber. If it comes to the second-tier guys, the Nationals feel they have a full capable starter like that in John Lannan — who’ll get his first major league look of the year in Game 2 of Saturday’s doubleheader.
Johnson, who said the last time he managed a contender he didn’t think had any glaring holes for the stretch run it was in 1986 when he took the New York Mets to a World Series title, also did not think it’d be worth it for the Nationals to do something that would draw cost a decent amount in prospects to acquire that type of player.
“It becomes a question of ‘Why pick up a pitcher or something?” he said. “Well we’ve got other options. We don’t have to ship away a couple talented minor leaguers for somebody. That’s not a wise move for a month, whatever.
“Where we’re at as an organization and as a ballclub, we’ve built from the ground up and the talent that we’re high on is getting an opportunity to play and fill the need now. You don’t go ahead and make a trade to regress that process. You play it out.”
If the Nationals are to make the playoffs, they would likely go with a four-man rotation of Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Edwin Jackson and Ross Detwiler — not exactly a list of names to sneeze at when it comes to postseason rotations.
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo always says that the Nationals make their moves with the long-term in mind. He also values Johnson’s opinion extremely highly when it comes to evaluating talent and the team.