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 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.”
The Nationals have been rumored to be most interested in acquiring another front-line starting pitcher to have for 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 but only if that starter is of a certain caliber. If it comes to the second-tier guys, the Nats feel they have a 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 said the 1986 World Series-winning New York Mets was the last contender he managed that he believed didn’t have any glaring holes entering the stretch run. He also did not think it’d be worth it for the Nationals to trade for a player who would cost a decent amount in prospects.
“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 make the playoffs, they would likely go with a four-man rotation of Gio Gonzalez (3.32 ERA), Jordan Zimmermann (2.35 ERA), Edwin Jackson (3.89 ERA) and Ross Detwiler (3.15 ERA — 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.