- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 8, 2022

It’s only early June, but Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo already knows what type of strategy he will likely employ at the trade deadline.

During his weekly appearance on 106.7 The Fan Wednesday morning, Rizzo said that the Nationals will “probably be careful sellers” at this summer’s trade deadline. 

“We still have a long ways to figure that out,” Rizzo told “The Sports Junkies.”

“I would assume that if we’re playing at the rate we’re playing, we’ll probably be careful sellers and make sure that we maximize the players at least with expiring contracts.”

Of course, the Nationals being sellers at the deadline is far from a surprise. Washington, coming off a 12-2 loss on Tuesday, has the second-worst record in the National League at 21-36. 

The Nationals have about 10 players on expiring contracts. The pending free agents who could be attractive to buyers at the deadline include: first baseman Josh Bell (.787 on-base plus slugging), designated hitter Nelson Cruz (29 RBIs in 52 games), third baseman Maikel Franco (15 doubles) and second baseman Cesar Hernandez (.266 batting average). 

Utilityman Ehire Adrianza, speedster Dee Strange-Gordon and reliever Steve Cishek are also on expiring contracts. Non-pending free agents who could be on the market include reliever Carl Edwards Jr., closer Tanner Rainey and left fielder Yadiel Hernandez. 

The MLB trade deadline is Aug. 2 at 6 p.m. 

Rizzo also addressed manager Dave Martinez’s job security amid the team’s rough start to the season. The longtime executive was asked if the Nationals would have any interest in letting Martinez go and hiring Joe Maddon, the experienced skipper who was fired by the Angels on Tuesday. 

“Terrible question. Horrible question. That is such a radio station/media question. No, we will not do that,” Rizzo said with a laugh. “Dave Martinez is our manager. He’s a great manager, he’s a World Series championship manager, and he’s the guy to take this team to the next level when we’re prepared to do so.”

• Jacob Calvin Meyer can be reached at jmeyer@washingtontimes.com.

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