Believe it or not, the Nationals appear to be approaching the 2021 trade deadline as buyers. At least that’s what the latest Nationals trade rumors would indicate.
Despite being a few games under .500, the NL East standings are helping to keep the Nats in the mix, as the first-place Mets aren’t exactly pulling away from the pack. The Nationals, Phillies, and Braves have to think that New York is vulnerable.
As a result, the rumor mill is spitting out Nationals trade targets as if the 2019 World Series champs are going after their second title in three years. The only caveat is that the Wild Card doesn’t appear to be an option the way it was in 2019. That means the Nats will have to leapfrog three teams in the NL East standings to make the playoffs, meaning they have a lot of work to do before the trade deadline.
Nationals Trade Rumors
The current Nationals trade rumors are all over the place, largely because Washington has a lot of needs. The starting rotation will likely be a priority for Washington with Stephen Strasburg sidelined indefinitely. Unlike past years, the Nats have one of the worst rotations in the National League without much depth behind ace Max Scherzer.
The Nationals’ remaining schedule between now and the trade deadline consists of three games vs. the Marlins (40-53), three @ the Orioles (30-62) and four @ the Phillies (47-45).
If they’re going to be buyers, Nats must show some life over this stretch.
— Matt Weyrich (@ByMattWeyrich) July 19, 2021
The Washington lineup is also going to need a little help if the Nationals are going to make a run during the second half of the season. Among the Nationals trade targets, there needs to be an impact bat. The question is what position is the biggest need.
Center field might need to be addressed with Victor Robles barely hitting over .200 and only contributing one home run this year. The infield is also in a precarious position with Starlin Castro unlikely to play again in 2021 following a domestic violence incident that has placed him on administrative leave.
Nationals trade targets
If the Nationals are going to become a serious contender in the NL East, they’ll need to shop at the top of the market. On the starting pitcher front, that means pursuing starters like Jon Gray of the Rockies, Kyle Gibson of the Rangers, and Jose Berrios of the Twins.
Obviously, those pitchers aren’t going to come cheap, especially since Gibson and Berrios are under contract for next season as well. But with Strasburg on the shelf and Patrick Corbin struggling, the Nats need a high-end starter to join Scherzer in the rotation.
NL 1B batting over .300 with at least 7 HRs since June 1:
Meanwhile, the latest Nationals trade rumors are connecting Washington to third baseman Kris Bryant. He would be the perfect candidate to join the Washington lineup, as he could complement left-handed sluggers Juan Soto and Kyle Schwarber, as well as switch-hitter Josh Bell. Bryant would solidify third base and change the shape of the entire Washington lineup.
Of course, the Nationals can’t ignore their problems in center field. Starling Marte of the Marlins would be the ideal solution if the Nats want to trade for a bona fide center fielder. It’s also worth noting that Byron Buxton of the Twins could be available as well.
While he’s currently on the IL, Buxton could be a difference-maker if he can pick up where he left off before the injury when he was hitting .369. On the other hand, a player like Buxton would cost a lot in a trade, especially for a team that’s barely in the playoff race at the moment.