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Nationals Supreme Court: What is the best trade in Nats history?

Nationals Supreme Court: What is the best trade in Nats history?

It is time for another installment of "Nationals Supreme Court," where we lay out arguments and vote on the most timeless debates in Nats history. With three people, we can break the tie.

Today, we weigh in on the best trade the Nationals have made in team history. The votes were cast by Todd Dybas, Nick Ashooh and Chase Hughes...

Chase Hughes: Much like the question earlier this week about the most iconic moments in Nationals history, there are a lot of possibilities to choose from here. Mike Rizzo has a mostly stellar record with trades and in some cases has completely fleeced the other side.

The Tanner Roark deal in 2010, the 2010 Wilson Ramos trade and the moves to get top-shelf starters like Gio Gonzalez and Doug Fister all come to mind. But the best trade the Nats have ever made is the 2014 three-team deal to acquire Trea Turner and Joe Ross.

This was a two-for-one, a buy one, get one free trade for the Nats. Washington technically dealt two players, but really only one big leaguer in Steven Souza Jr. And they got back two recent first round picks, both at positions of need. Turner ended up replacing Ian Desmond at shortstop and is now a borderline All-Star. And Ross, though not as accomplished as Turner yet, started a World Series game for them. They got two contributors to a championship all in one deal. Not bad.

CHASE'S VOTE: Turner/Ross


Nick Ashooh: Mike Rizzo has quite a few trades on his resume with this team, and often trying to fix a broken bullpen midway through a season. Nothing is more important than the trade that brought them Trea Turner and Joe Ross, though. 

You bring in a natural leadoff hitter and your everyday shortstop who’s constantly a stolen base threat, as well as a capable starter in Joe Ross. Both, by the way, are still under 28 years old.

NICK'S VOTE: Turner/Ross


Todd Dybas: Congratulations to Chase on getting something right during these discussions.

This is punch-to-the-face obvious. A quality starting shortstop and even a part-time pitcher in exchange for a part-time outfielder is a coup. Steven Souza has played four full seasons in the major leagues. He compiled 6.0 bWAR during that time. Trea Turner had 3.3 bWAR last season alone, despite missing 40 games.

So, kudos to Mike Rizzo. This deal will be an eternal victory lap and become all the more egregious if Ross ever produces a solid full season.

TODD'S VOTE: Turner/Ross


WINNER: The 2014 trade to acquire Trea Turner and Joe Ross that sent Steven Souza Jr. to the Rays.

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Stephen Strasburg’s debut shows he still has a ways to go

Stephen Strasburg’s debut shows he still has a ways to go

WASHINGTON -- Elegant pitching took place in the top of the fourth inning Sunday when Anthony Santander led off the inning.

Stephen Strasburg threw him a 79-mph curveball for a called strike. An 87-mph changeup was a ball. Another changeup produced a swinging strike. A third consecutive changeup led to another swinging strike and an out.

Strasburg needed just 43 pitches to finish four innings in his season debut. The problem was he went to pitch the fifth -- and that his achy right hand still has mild issues.

He recorded one out, faded rapidly and was removed after allowing five sudden runs. The hook was too late. The Nationals fell behind, 5-0, and were on the verge of a weekend sweep at the hands of the Orioles and a troublesome 4-8 record before the game was suspended because of oddball circumstances with a malfunctioning tarp.

“You can look at the negative, or you can look at the positive,” Strasburg said. “I think there was a lot more positives. I'm just going to focus on that. Obviously command and execution wasn't very good there in the fifth. They just hit a bunch of singles and found the right spots. So they made me pay for it.”

Strasburg’s start came two weeks after he was supposed to be on the game mound for the first time in 2020. A right wrist impingement caused a nerve problem in his right hand, which led to pain in his thumb. All of the issues with the hand subsided after time off and treatment. He threw a bullpen session Wednesday. Sunday, “Seven Nation Army” poured out of the stadium speakers for the first time this season.

The first four innings showed a pitcher with lowered velocity, but exceptional command. In essence, Strasburg looked like himself. Plenty of curveballs, changeups and outs. Of his 69 pitches, 37 were curveballs or changeups.


Javy Guerra quickly worked to warm up when Strasburg faltered in the fifth inning. The first out of the inning came on a 101.1-mph line drive from Dwight Smith Jr. It was a harbinger.

Austin Hays hit a line drive to right field. Chance Sisco hit a line drive to right field. Davey Martinez and trainer Paul Lessard came up the dugout steps to head toward the mound because Strasburg shook his right hand. Strasburg waived them back to their spots, though there was an issue.

“To be honest, I felt it,” Strasburg said of his hand pain. “I don't know if it was necessarily like fatigue or just not having necessarily the stamina built up quite yet. But it's something where I don't think I'm doing any long-term harm on it. But it does have an impact on being able to feel the baseball and being able to commit to pitches. That's something I haven't quite figured out how to pitch through it yet, so I think the goal is to continue to get built up and get the pitch count up to where that won't be flaring up over the course of the start.”

He walked the next batter. Pitching coach Paul Menhart went to talk to him. This, presumably, is when Strasburg should have been removed from the game. He was left in.

Bryan Holaday singled. A run scored. Hanser Alberto doubled. Two runs scored. Santander singled. Two runs scored.

Guerre came in. Strasburg departed.

The good news is Strasburg finally made a start in 2020. And, Max Scherzer is expected to return to the mound on Tuesday in New York.

The bad news is 25 percent of Strasburg’s potential starts are over. Starting pitchers were only in line for 12 this year. He missed two, then failed in the fifth inning in what would have been his third start. That gives him nine to go -- if the season makes it to the end -- with a hand that isn’t quite right.


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Davey Martinez defends Nationals' grounds crew following tarp snafu

Davey Martinez defends Nationals' grounds crew following tarp snafu

Sunday's matchup between the Nationals and Orioles came to a halt in the sixth inning due to a brief rainstorm, but the game was delayed and eventually suspended after the grounds crew had multiple issues unraveling the tarp to cover the infield.

For much of the rainfall, the infield and pitcher's mound in Nationals Park were exposed. As the rain continued to fall, the dirt turned into slushy mud.

Despite the grounds crew's inability to properly cover the field, which ended up being the reason for the game's suspension, Nationals manager Davey Martinez refused to place blame on the crew.

"Feel bad for our grounds crew," Martinez said to reporters after the game was called off. "Personally, these guys, to me, are the best if not one of the best. Unfortunate that that happened."


The whole situation was a perfect metaphor for 2020 as a whole, a year of chaos and unexpected twists and turns, mostly in a negative fashion.

While Sunday's game came to a finish prematurely, Martinez said all his team can do is keep moving forward and be ready to play the New York Mets on Monday at Citi Field.

"There’s going to be days when you don’t know what to expect. This is part of it," Martinez said. "So, we just got to keep moving on. At the end of the game, I told the guys, pack up, we’re going to New York. Get ready to play [Monday]. That’s all we can do."

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