One thing is always consistent when the trade deadline comes around: we all expect craziness. We look forward to the scramble, the drama, and the excitement. It rarely lives up to the hype, and yesterday the Nats were part of that lack of motion.
And they’re possibly a better team for it.
The Nats are 2.5 games ahead of the Braves for first in the NL East. Their 61-41 record is second in the league (and majors) behind Cincinnati, who has just one more win at 62-41. They are ahead of the 60-43 Yankees.
Since Michael Morse has returned to the lineup and Steve Lombardozzi found his stride, the once putrid offense has become consistent (save for last night). The pitching has continues to be superb, and it more than good enough to make a deep playoff run.
There were two areas the Nats could have improved on before 4 p.m. yesterday: a strong bat for offensive insurance and veteran playoff experience to potentially guide the team in the fall. Both of these things, however, would have cost the Nats more than they were worth.
Unlike years past, the Nats could’ve lost at the deadline. They had pieces that if traded, could’ve put their season in jeopardy. They also weren’t desperate. Being in first place means you can afford to be cautious. In fact, it means you can’t afford not to.
Everyone always wants their team to make a dramatics move, to shake everything up and bring in a big player. But Mike Rizzo probably made the best move possible…by not making one.
With the added wild card team, more teams are in the playoff race. That means fewer sellers at the deadline, as everyone is nervous to make a move that would cost their team the post season. There were fewer players on the table this season, and the price for those players available was higher because of it.
This team is good. They’ve proven that through 4 months of play. Rizzo is right to let this group play it out, and work for the playoffs to complete the turnaround together.