The 2018 MLB All-Star game is approaching and with that means so is the trade deadline.
Nationals GM Mike Rizzo has stated that the team is always in the business of buying and selling and this season they're interested in a starting pitcher.
"Talking starting pitching, talking to GM's, doing our due diligence," Rizzo said Wednesday on 106.7 The Fan's Sports Junkies, simulcasted on NBC Sports Washington.
"We're always active at this time and [we] have a lot of conversations with a lot of people. We've got a lot of assets that people want. We've got assets of other teams that we want. It's going to be an interesting period. We're starting the stretch drive now where we gotta play good baseball."
Good baseball for the Nats in 2018 has been spotty. They've shown us what they're capable of – like putting up 18 runs Saturday against the Marlins – to not even closely resembling a team that has been NL East champions four of the last six seasons. And in odd fashion, their starting pitching hasn't performed like we're used to.
Stephen Strasburg is expected to make his return very soon after being placed on the disabled list with an inflamed shoulder, Max Scherzer is 11-5 with 177 strikeouts, but Tanner Roark and Gio Gonzalez have fallen flat. During Sunday's game against the Marlins, Roark allowed 15 runners in four innings in their 10-2 loss, and in June, Gonzalez was 0-5 with a 8.44 ERA. It's obvious they need help and the trade deadline could bring some much needed relief, but Rizzo is still looking for more out of his veterans.
"It's time for the starting pitchers to step up and pitch like they're supposed to pitch," Rizzo said.
"And that's the thing, these guys are accomplished pitchers. Gio had a low 2 ERA his first seven or eight start this season and kind of fell into some bad habits mechanically and didn't give us the length and performance we wanted, same thing with Tanner, and then we're relying on two young kids. Anytime you lose two of your five starters to injury you're really relying on your depth and your veteran players to perform up to their capabilities."
"We're optimistic. The team has been playing so hard. Even when we were playing poorly, we were playing very, very hard. You can even see it...two nights ago against the Pirates, we were down six runs before you could take your seat and you've got Adam Eaton running into walls and diving for balls and guys were playing all out, trying to come back from that thing. That's really been the attitude and the energy level throughout the season. Through the highs of May and through the lows of June, we've been on course and the effort level has been there and the preparation time has been there and the performance is starting to catch up with the effort level."
And help at starting pitcher could be what brings the Nats back into baseball harmony.
"Once we get our starting pitching in line, I think we're going to really take off."
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