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Q&A with MLB Trade Rumors

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Q&A with MLB Trade Rumors

By Doug McKinney
CSNwashington.com

In the latest Nationals Q&A, CSN producer Doug McKinney talks with Ben Nicholson-Smith of MLBtraderumors.com. Nicholson-Smith specializes in reports of trades and roster moves in Major League Baseball. You can read his stuff here.

CSN:Ben, thanks for joining us. With the trade deadline just a month away, what type of market will the Washington Nationals be in on the trade front?

MLBTR: Let's start with the obvious: the Nationals figure to be buyers with an interest in adding offense. They're averaging fewer than four runs per game, and unless they expect to replicate the success of the pitching-first 2010 Giants, Washingtons front office members will want to look around for some bats.

No team in baseball has obtained a lower OPS from its left fielders (.561), which makes the outfield a natural starting point. The Nationals could consider trade candidates such as Carlos Quentin if theyre looking for some power on an expiring contract. However many outfielders rumored to be available are unappealing given their salaries and production.

CSN: The Nationals pitching staff is a big reason the club is in first place in the NL East, while the hitting has lagged behind. What type of bats arecould be available that you think may intrigue the Nats? (They were tied to B.J. Upton, Denard Span and Peter Bourjos earlier in the offseasonseason)
MLBTR: The Nationals will likely be intrigued by outfielders, as I mentioned. Left field has proven to be a particularly weak position so far, but Bryce Harper and Michael Morse offer enough versatility that GM Mike Rizzo could also pursue right or center fielders and adjust his outfield accordingly.

Specifically, I expect the Nationals will monitor the trade market for Quentin, Upton, Span, Shane Victorino, David DeJesus and Gerardo Parra. Some of these players wont be available in trades, but other names will no doubt surface between now and the end of July.

CSN: Going back to DC's pitching, it's no secret that the Nats think tank plans on shutting down Stephen Strasburg at some point this year. With Ken Rosenthal's recent report about Zack Greinke possibly being available down the road, do you see the Nats matching up well with the Brewers and beingplayers for his services?

MLBTR: I would be surprised if the Nationals landed Greinke. Hes going to cost a tremendous amount in terms of prospects and young players because hell be the best starting pitcher available, assuming the Phillies hold onto Cole Hamels this summer. I dont see the Nationals out-bidding other teams for starting pitching, which is arguably the organizations biggest strength. Instead, I expect Davey Johnson to add Chien-Ming Wang, Tom Gorzelanny or John Lannan to his rotation when Strasburg gets shut down.

CSN:The Nationals have signed all of their top 10 selections from the 2012 MLB Draft, with the exception of their number one pick Lucas Giolito. Any news on him and do you think a deal gets done?
MLBTR: I don't have inside info on this one, but I expect he'll sign. The Nationals can spend more than 3 million on Giolito without losing future draft picks, according to Baseball America. That kind of money would be tough to walk away from.

If Giolito goes to college and emerges as a top-five pick a few years from now he could earn more than 3 million, but that would delay the start of his pro career. Plus, theres an informal cap on bonuses under baseballs new collective bargaining agreement, so theres less financial incentive for high schoolers selected in the first round to go to college and boost their draft stock.

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Nationals Game 5 meltdown yet another reminder why D.C. can't have nice things

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Nationals Game 5 meltdown yet another reminder why D.C. can't have nice things

On Thursday night, a Washington, D.C. pro sports team did something Washington, D.C. pro sports teams are very good at doing: fall short of making a league or championship game.

The Nationals' disastrous fifth inning against the Cubs in Game 5 of the National League Divisional Series was the beginning of the end, not to mention yet another in a long line of disappointing playoff results for Washington, D.C. sports teams.

You see, Washington, D.C. is the only city with at least three major pro sports teams to not have a single one make a conference or league championship game since 2000.

To make matters worse, Washington, D.C. sports teams have now lost 16 consecutive playoff games in which a win would've advanced the team to the conference or league championship. 

Think about that for a second. Four teams. Zero conference championship appearances since 1998. 

Here's the list.

Washington, D.C. sports fans are not greedy. We can't be. We've had some very good teams recently, with the type of talent, coaching and intangibles needed to win a championship. 

TRY THIS: 20 THINGS DC SPORTS FANS SHOULD BE HAPPY ABOUT. YES, HAPPY.

The last time a major Washington, D.C. pro sports team won a world championship was in 1992 when the Redskins won Super Bowl XXVI.  The last time a major Washington, D.C. pro sports team even made a conference championship game was in 1998, when the Capitals advanced to the Eastern Conference Final, defeating the Sabres to advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

Washington, D.C. isn't allowed to have nice sports things.

Sure, we have great players and great teams, but when the playoffs roll around, all the nice things go away. We aren't privy to plucky upstarts who run the table and we aren't privy to dominant teams that make long postseason runs.

Washington, D.C. will have its day, eventually. Sure it may only be a conference championship appearance, but for us, that's fine. We don't expect world championships. We just want something to get invested in.

Early playoff exits are rarely worth the investment.

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With contractual decisions looming, Nats missed chance at stress-free World Series run

With contractual decisions looming, Nats missed chance at stress-free World Series run

"This is the year."

That's the motto for almost every D.C. sports fan when their team is headed for the postseason.

The Nats led a weak NL East the entire season and clinched a spot to play October baseball early into September.

RELATED: COUNTLESS ERRORS DOOM NATIONALS IN SEASON-ENDING LOSS

The team overcame the obstacle of being plagued with injuries and with pitchers like Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer having a strong bullpen to back them up, the stars were aligning for the team to go all the way.

But now with players like Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy having contracts up for grabs in 2019, Nationals reporter Chelsea Janes says 2017 was really the last chance for the team to win a stress-free title.

"I think those questions you've raised like Bryce [Harper's] contract, [Daniel} Murphy may be leaving, you know Rizzo's contract's up after next year, I think those are the things they didn't have to deal with this year that made this such a free chance," Janes said on the Sports Junkies Friday.

"It was a free chance to just feel good and do it now and not have everyone say this is your absolute last chance, and next year it's their absolute last chance for a little while, I think."

"I mean they're not going to be awful in '19, but they're going to be different and I think they've sort of wasted their free pass here and there's legitimate and kind of unrelenting pressure on them next year to make it happen."

It's hard to make sense of what a team will look like one day after a devastating series loss. One thing that is fairly certain is that time is ticking for the Nats to make it happen with arguably the most talented group of players they've ever had.