Nationals Trade Deadline Central

Nationals President of Baseball Ops. Mike Rizzo has several key decisions to make regarding the Trade Deadline.

The Nationals are two weeks away from the pivotal July 31st Trade Deadline and DMV Sports Network will have you covered. Check back on this page and follow us on Twitter @DMV_SN to find news, rumors and analysis on everything surrounding the Nats as we inch closer to the deadline.

*This page will be updated daily as news comes up*

July 20

Nationals Looking at Greene and Dyson

Early Saturday morning, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that the Nats are interested in Tigers closer Shane Greene and Giants reliever Sam Dyson.

This report comes off the heels of Mike Rizzo’s interview on MLB Network Radio where he mentions specifically the team’s need for bullpen arms and, as Rosenthal notes, preferably ones with control past 2019. Considering the Nationals’ bleak bullpen outlook both for now and for 2020, this comes as no surprise.

We’d like to improve ourselves this year but also for the future. When you’re giving away the assets that you have to give away at the trade deadline, you kind of like to get a little bit of control in the players that you acquire.

Greene, 30, has enjoyed a renaissance 2019 season. In 35 appearances the all-star has thrown to a 1.03 ERA with 22 saves and a 0.829 WHIP, by far the best of his six-year career. He is under team control for two years, being arbitration-eligible for 2020, with a cap hit of less than $2 million left for 2019. A trade for Greene, one of the top relievers on the market, could somewhat resemble the deal Rizzo made in 2017, trading Blake Treinen as well as prospects Jesus Luzardo and Sheldon Neuse in exchange for Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle. While he’d likely acquire only one reliever in this case, Greene’s elite closer status as well as his contract could force Rizzo’s hand to give up a top five prospect, a mid-level prospect, and a four-A arm, potentially Joe Ross or Erick Fedde. The price for Greene is a steep one. With Washington, he might be the setup man to Doolittle, or they could split closing duties.

Dyson, like Greene, is under team control through 2020 and he, too, has roughly $2 million due for the remainder of this season. The 31-year-old has been a good, well-traveled reliever for five years now. His 2.68 ERA, 0.915 WHIP, 2.67 FIP and 8.8 K/9 are right on par if not better than his career averages. His price might be steeper than it would have been in previous years  given the sellers market developing, but regardless he will be far cheaper than Greene. He can close, getting opportunities and performing well with Texas in 2016 and the Giants in 2017, but with the Nationals he’d likely slide in as the 7th or 8th inning arm.

July 15

Nationals Interested in Givens

Orioles’ closer Mychal Givens could solidify the back end of the Nationals pen for 2019 and beyond.

According to Roch Kubatko of MASN, Orioles’ closer Mychal Givens is “most definitely in play” as the deadline approaches, and the Nationals are said to be one of the teams interested.

Kubatko notes that Baltimore is looking for “young prospects from the lower levels of the minors” in any trade for the closer.

Our own Hunter Rooney recently wrote about Givens and why despite the subpar ERA, his peripherals would make him a welcome addition to the back-end of the Nats pen.

Although the Orioles and Nationals have not done much business together, due to the ever ongoing MASN dispute, this is a scenario that would make sense for both sides to work together to complete a deal. 

On the surface it seems as if Givens has struggled mightily this season as the Orioles closer, however this should not be seen as much of a problem as it is made out to be. Givens currently has a 4.50 ERA on the season, but nine of the 18 earned runs he has given up this year came in two outings where he gave up a big homer. Givens currently has career high’s in multiple categories including K/9 (12.8), strikeout rate (34.5%), swinging-strike rate (15.3%), and chase rate (32%). Much of the reason that the raw numbers might not match his actual performance could be attributed to the hitter-friendly Camden Yards. Six of the eight home runs that Givens has allowed this season have come at home. While playing on the road, things have been much better with opponents only slashing .185/.286/.315 against him. This goes to show that Givens could be a great buy-low candidate.

It does remain to be seen if Orioles owner Peter Angelos would ever allow a trade with his beltway rival to go through, though judging from comments by O’s GM Mike Elias and Nats counterpart Rizzo, quoted in Barry Svrluga’s recent column for The Washington Post, it seems that if a trade were ever to take place, it would be now.

Givens has about $890K of salary left for this season, and is arbitration eligible through 2021.

July 13

Nationals Considering Diekman

Rosenthal reported on Saturday  that the Nationals are “considering” Rangers left-handed reliever Jake Diekman.

MLB Trade Rumors discussed Diekman’s season and why he makes sense as a buy-low candidate for the Nats.

On one hand, Diekman has logged a horrid 5.06 ERA with a similarly unappealing 5.3 BB/9 over 37 1/3 innings. On the other, the former Phillie, Ranger and Diamondback has continued to pump 95-plus mph heat, generated more swinging strikes than ever (16.4 percent), posted a 3.68 FIP/3.95 xFIP, amassed 13.02 strikeouts per nine and recorded the majors’ eighth-best infield fly rate for relievers (20 percent). Diekman has also been tough on lefties, whom he has held to a .278 weighted on-base average, while somewhat keeping righties in check (.315 wOBA).

Diekman, who’s owed less than $1MM through season’s end, would be a reasonably priced addition for a wild card-leading Washington team trying to stay below the luxury tax.

A return to the NL East could greatly benefit Diekman. He began his career in the NL East with the Phillies in 2012, appearing in 191 games to the tune of a 3.88 ERA. He would slide right into the pen as middle relief, potentially replacing seldom-used Matt Grace.

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