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The Nats may make a splash at the trade deadline

Jul 6, 2012, 9:46 AM EDT

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Jon Paul Morosi spoke with Nationals owner Mark Lerner, and Lerner made it pretty clear that, when it comes to the trade deadline and, more generally, improving the team, money is no real object:

“We’ve never let dollars get in the way of us making decisions that will help this organization … That will always be our philosophy. We don’t look at it like a $100 million benchmark, or $90 million, or $120 million. We try to do smart things … There’s never been a question of this organization spending money. It was when to spend it.”

Lerner goes on to say that the Nats aren’t terribly interested in rental players, which means that they would consider taking on a guy with a large, multi-year deal.

Not too many teams ever fit that description at the deadline, so the Nats may very well alter the usual mid-to-late July dynamic in that regard.

  1. Alex K - Jul 6, 2012 at 10:02 AM

    Alfonso Soriano?! I mean, if you’re looking for a guy with a multi-year deal he fits the bill….

    • rg3isvictory - Jul 6, 2012 at 10:03 PM

      The Nats will go for another Ace pitcher, not a bat. They’ll need protect when Stephen is shutdown.

    • rg3isvictory - Jul 6, 2012 at 10:04 PM

      The Nats will go for another Ace pitcher, not a bat. They’ll need protection when Stephen is shutdown.

  2. stex52 - Jul 6, 2012 at 10:21 AM

    Bryce Harper for Wandy Rodriguez. Straight up. We’ll throw in Myers and anyone else you want. Hell, we’ll pay airfare for the whole crowd. :-)

    • natstowngreg - Jul 6, 2012 at 10:28 AM

      Airfare? Buy ‘em a plane! :)

    • stex52 - Jul 6, 2012 at 12:25 PM

      Joke, people, joke! Can’t you see the little smiley face? At least Greg got it.

      • natstowngreg - Jul 6, 2012 at 12:31 PM

        It was a little obvious. Why give up Harper for Wandy when the Nats could get Chris Johnson to replace Ryan Zimmerman??

        [a bonus :)]

  3. watermelon1 - Jul 6, 2012 at 10:22 AM

    The Orioles will(or at least should) offer anything for some of the Nats pitching.

    • dondada10 - Jul 6, 2012 at 10:37 AM

      Markakis? What do the Nats even need?

      • natstowngreg - Jul 6, 2012 at 10:57 AM

        That’s the odd thing. One would think the Nats would need a hitter, especially a CF. However, when Werth returns, there won’t be a place for another OF. Meanwhile, the infield is set.

        Maybe another catcher, though Jhonaton Solano has played well as the backup. That wouldn’t be a major deal though, because they expect Wilson Ramos back next season.

      • meoncaffeine - Jul 6, 2012 at 12:14 PM

        Actually, depth in the rotation since Stras will be shut down in early September.

  4. natstowngreg - Jul 6, 2012 at 10:26 AM

    This is both remarkable and encouraging coming from one of the Lerners. In the first couple of seasons after taking over, there were real concerns whether, being hard-nosed businesspeople, they would put winning over profit. That changed with the Strasburg and Werth deals, but there has still been a little bit of doubt. This helps relieve the doubts.

    Actually, the Nats will be adding a couple of pieces without spending an additional dime, in Drew Storen and Jayson Werth. Beyond them, there’s the matter of who will replace Stephen Strasburg when he’s shut down. Thus, while starting pitching has been the team’s strongest suit, any big deal may be for a starting pitcher.

  5. chew1985 - Jul 6, 2012 at 10:56 AM

    Wow, they’re in the same position the Phillies were in 4 years ago, except the Nats are even younger than the Phils were then. If they do this right they can dominate the division for the better part of a decade.

    But remember Mr. Lerner, if you mess it up then you have a $178 million dollar payroll and you’re hopelessly out of it like the Phillies are now, just 4 years after their “dynasty” period started. And if you do it right, you’ll be whoopin’ the Yankees’ butts for a good stretch.

    • eaglesfan723 - Jul 6, 2012 at 11:49 AM

      Hmmm. You make a good argument..BUT…
      1. The Phillies are getting healthier
      2. The Phillies always play better second half baseball
      3. They added another wild card spot
      4. Who says the Phillies wont be buyers at the deadline?

      Just because the Nationals are in first place and the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals havn’t made it to the playoffs since the early 80′s…you really shouldnt be all that confident.

      • chew1985 - Jul 6, 2012 at 12:49 PM

        The more games in a short series playoff situation that Charlie Manuel has to manage in, the better the chance that the Phillies will be outmanaged and beaten. Doc and Ryan coming back will really help, but they can’t go very far with the current bullpen. And if J-pop is going to be your leadoff hitter and Victorino continues playing with his head up his a**, the Phillies are the longest longshot of all for the postseason. I’ve been a Phightins’ fan for 51 years. I am a realist, not a hater.

      • natstowngreg - Jul 6, 2012 at 1:09 PM

        It’s a little early to be writing off the Phillies. I don’t blame fans for holding onto the idea that the Phillies have one more charge left in them. I do get the sense, though, that if they don’t get hot in the next 3 weeks, their ownership and GM may decide to sell off and start over.

        At the same time, we Nats fans have real reasons for confidence. It’s not about what the franchise did or did not do in Montreal 30 years ago. It’s about suffering through much bad baseball, then watching the development of a young team that is learning how to contend. The Nats haven’t won anything yet, but it’s fun to think about them winning.

      • paperlions - Jul 6, 2012 at 1:28 PM

        Philly is pretty much done for the year. If they play .600 ball the rest of the year, which is highly unlikely, they’ll wind up with 84 wins. That won’t be enough. Along the way they’ll have to pass 6 teams in the standings, making up at least 8 games.

        While they may be better the rest of the year, they have to play great just to get back to .500….this isn’t a .500 team that needs a hot streak to get in the race.

      • chico54 - Jul 6, 2012 at 2:01 PM

        have to be a philly fan, History comical, whenever a team that hasnt won a super bowl but yet shits on other teams that have won one in the past by saying history doesnt matter we are gonna win one this year and lets not forget if you want to bring up history, Phillies only organization with over 10,000 loses only one in any major sport. And no one is being cocky here in washington, unlike Philly fans. We are just excited to finally have a winning team and hopefully a mlb trophy to go with our super bowl trophies

      • paperlions - Jul 6, 2012 at 2:19 PM

        The Braves also have over 10K losses….the Phillies are no longer alone, and will get much more company over the next few years.

      • eaglesfan723 - Jul 6, 2012 at 4:22 PM

        In response to chico54..I never said we were going to win it this year, I simply stated facts. You really shouldn’t get so offended.

      • natstowngreg - Jul 6, 2012 at 5:24 PM

        Losses for the 16 “original” franchises (having been around longer, the NL franchises have more losses than any AL franchise, except the Giants):

        NL:
        Phillies, 10,339
        Braves, 10,066
        Cubs, 9,830
        Pirates, 9,810
        Reds, 9,740
        Cardinals, 9,529
        Dodgers, 9,315
        Giants, 9,072

        Losses, AL:
        Orioles, 9,090
        Twins, 8,962
        Athletics, 8,882
        Tigers, 8,546
        White Sox, 8,533
        Indians, 8,488
        Red Sox, 8,345
        Yankees, 7,458

        Numbers from Baseball-Reference.com, one of the world’s best uses of electrons.

    • hisgirlgotburrelled - Jul 6, 2012 at 12:18 PM

      4 years ago the Phillies had 2 MVP’s in their prime, and they won the world series. So you’re predicting a World Series victory from this 2012 Nationals team? “If you mess it up…” like the Phillies did, so that means they get 2 NL pennants, a World Series win, and 5 straight division titles? You have lofty expectations for this team. Why don’t we keep it at winning 82 games first?

      It seems like every time someone mentions the Phillies payroll it gets higher and higher. Up to $178 million now?

      • chew1985 - Jul 6, 2012 at 12:51 PM

        Whatever the number is, it is obvious at this point that the owners have taken the checkbook away from Ruben Amaro, Jr.

    • natstowngreg - Jul 6, 2012 at 12:53 PM

      Of course, spending the big money wisely is important. See Cubs, Chicago. The Lerners pay Mike Rizzo to prevent the Cubs’ problems from happening in Washington. Obviously, I’m biased, but IMHO, he’s done a pretty good job of assembling a nucleus to contend, now and for several years to come. The challenge will be to complement the nucleus, and decide who should stay for the long term.

      The Nats live in a big market and have owners who can afford a big payroll. Meanwhile, even if they don’t buy high-priced veteran players, the payroll will rise significantly in the next couple of years. Young players will reach arbitration eligibility — Jordan Zimmerman, Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa, Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard. That means more contract extensions like those signed by Ryan Zimmerman and Gio Gonzalez. [And imagine what's going to happen when Strasburg and Harper need new contracts.]

  6. dan1111 - Jul 6, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    I’m surprised anyone would doubt their willingness to spend after the Werth deal, as well as the big names they tried but failed to sign.

    As for winning vs. profit, winning is what makes profit. The bad teams are not bad because the owners are too smart.

    • natstowngreg - Jul 6, 2012 at 5:34 PM

      The Lerners have this reputation locally for their toughness in business dealings. It’s taken a while to get used to the idea that they’re willing to lay out the cash to get the talent.

      Winning and profit should go together, but they don’t always. Recall a couple of years ago when Royals ownership slammed the Yankees for spending too much. Yankees ownership pointed out that they were subsidizing the Royals through the luxury tax, but the Royals were pocketing the cash instead of spending it on talent. Then, MLB told the Royals to spend the money on better players.

  7. meoncaffeine - Jul 6, 2012 at 11:27 AM

    At this point, I think they’d be most likely to shell out for another ace in anticipation of Strasburg’s shutdown.

    • movinonyoleft - Jul 6, 2012 at 12:36 PM

      They should just let Strasburg pitch, and get another ace anyway.

      • natstowngreg - Jul 6, 2012 at 5:37 PM

        That would be nice, but it ain’t gonna happen. The Nats aren’t going to burn out Strasburg in year one of his TJS recovery. Just as they refused to burn out Jordan Zimmerman last season. They’re looking at the big picture.

  8. stairwayto7 - Jul 6, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    Cole Hammels and Harper on same team!

    • kkolchak - Jul 6, 2012 at 4:22 PM

      That’s a clown comment, bro. :)

  9. bougin89 - Jul 6, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    So the Nats are looking for a bat and can take on long term contracts, I think Rickie Weeks just needs a change of scenery and he’ll be fine…if not him we’ll give you Aramis Ramirez to play the hot corner.

    Better yet we’ll give you both for just about any minor leaguer… we’re not greedy.

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