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  • Trade Target Team Profile: Washington Nationals

    The Big Picture
    At the All Star Break last year, the Washington Nationals were playing .500 baseball (46-46) but were already 11.5 games back behind the National League East leading Phillies.

    To be sure, it was just their second non-losing first half of the season since they emigrated from Montreal. Prior to last season, DC had entered just one midseason classic with a winning record. When MLB moved the Expos to the nation’s capital, the newly christen Nationals posted a 52-36 record heading into the All Star Break, leading the division by two-and-a-half games. Of course, Washington would go 29-45 in the season’s back half and wind up in last place.

    This season, the Nationals, fueled by some incredible young talent (Bryce Harper) and outstanding pitching (3.21 ERA, best in MLB), have produced their second winning first-half – going 49-34 with a four game lead over the Atlanta Braves.

    Why They Will Trade With The Twins
    Selling “Hope” has played well in Washington in the political world. Now the Nationals are attempting to convince their fans that it exists for them in the NL East too. It won’t be easy with the big spending teams like the Braves, Mets and Marlins breathing down their necks so the Nationals’ general manager Mike Rizzo will be making calls in July to see what is available to help push his team over that hump.

    And, let’s face it: the Twins have made for very good trade partners in the past as well.

    Rizzo did a job picking Wilson Ramos (season-ending knee surgery notwithstanding) and, if you believed last trade deadline’s reports, he nearly got the Twins to hand over Denard Span for…ROGER BERNADINA. (Yes, Span was still struggling through concussion symptoms but good god, ROGER BERNADINA?) Based on those two instances, I’d say Rizzo has found himself an organization in which he can sell oceanfront property in Arizona.

    Given their need to appease the fan base in a heavily competitive DC/Baltimore market combined with the complete lack of a legitimate lead-off hitter (as a group they are posting a .306 on-base percentage), there is probably a strong chance that Rizzo would pick up the phone and see if the Twins are still interested in Span-for-Bernadina.

    Why They Won’t Trade With the Twins
    Aside from Span, there is not much on the menu that would appeal to this team.

    Their pitching staff is Jim Morrison poetry deep and even their need for a center fielder has quelled since moving uber-stud Harper to the middle of the outfield. While Span’s +21 Plus/Minus in center field is the best in baseball, Harper’s +12 is not far behind (fifth among center fielders). What’s more is the Nationals’ mix of Mike Morse in left, Andy LaRoche at first and Jayson Werth impending return from the DL to return to right field means Harper might need to stay in center.

    Also, it’s worth noting that Washington’s minor league pitching depth is fairly thin after the Nationals unloaded three of their top arms to Oakland in exchange for Gio Gonzalez. What is left might not be appealing to the Twins either.

    Conclusion
    The Nationals will be buyers but it would appear that if they are not interested in Span - or maybe a reunion with Jamey Carroll as a back-up infielder - there may not be a match with the Twins.

    ----

    Possible Trade Targets
    Steve Lombardozzi Jr – INF/OF
    The Son of Lombo in the same lineup with the Son of Sal (Butera)? Whoa. The 23-year-old Lombardozzi has been ousted from his second base position by Danny Espinosa and has been shifted to left field where his bat is a complete miscast. He’s shown good on-base acumen in the minors (career .369 OBP) but has not had that manifest in his 238 plate appearances at the major league level (career .313 OBP). He intrigued the Twins last year when they were discussing a Span trade.

    Drew Storen – Closer
    Gosh, you’d hate to think that the Twins would target recently damaged goods like Storen but damn do they love them some Proven Closer. With Storen rehabbing his way back to the Nationals as we speak, the Twins have no clear cut plans for the backend of the bullpen in the coming years. The 24-year-old Storen would in theory give them stability at a cheap price in 2013 but comes with risks.

    Matthew Skole – Third Base
    At six-foot-four and 230 pounds, Skole is a monster at third base. His left-handed power has certainly manifested in his second professional season. In 319 plate appearances in 2011, he hit five home runs in low-A. This year, in 370 plate appearances, he’s hit 21 home runs and is leading the Sally League. His glove is questionable so he might be destined for another position than his current one.

    Rob Wort – RHRP
    If the team is in need of some bullpen depth, the 23-year-old Rob Wort might be an interesting plus-one in any potential trade. Repeating High-A ball for the second consecutive year, he’s struck out 63 in 38.1 innings while walking just 13. It is the latter that is important as Wort’s control had been terrible in 2011 (he walked 27 in 36.2 innings). He throws a low-90s fastball but can clearly miss bats.

    Roger Bernadina - OF
    No.
    This article was originally published in blog: Trade Target Team Profile: Washington Nationals started by Parker Hageman
    Comments 26 Comments
    1. glunn's Avatar
      glunn -
      Carroll and Capps for Wort?
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Parker, your write-up for Bernadina was stellar. Succinct, accurate, and totally honest.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      this makes me glad Bill Smith was fired.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      With the innings limit on Strasburg it is very possible they will need another starting pitcher, I wonder if they would be interested in Liriano.

      One player I wouldn't mind targeting would be Alex Meyer, maybe an outright swap of Liriano for Meyer would get it done? I also wouldn't mind them going after Lombardozzi eventually as well, once Rendon is ready he will be out of a position, and though I'm not sure he is a great starter, he would be a nice stop gap on the Twins at 2B (or SS if Dozier can't hack it)
    1. Fanatic Jack's Avatar
      Fanatic Jack -
      Parker,

      Roger Bernadina was a throw in. The Nationals would of given us Drew Storen as the main trade piece for Denard Span. The Twins were trying to get them to throw in Lombardozzi. I was happy the trade was not made at the time but not because the Twins could of gotten more for Span. I was unhappy because I wanted to see Revere playing everyday in CF where he is most valuable.
    1. Steve Penz's Avatar
      Steve Penz -
      A closer, a late-relief pitcher, a big and strong 3rd basemen, a journeyman outfielder? Yes, that is what the twins need. I hope very much that none of these things happen. These types of moves would make me very sad for our future.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by SRP View Post
      A closer, a late-relief pitcher, a big and strong 3rd basemen, a journeyman outfielder? Yes, that is what the twins need. I hope very much that none of these things happen. These types of moves would make me very sad for our future.
      I would take Skole in a heart beat, the guy has some pretty awesome power and his bat could even potentially play at first base, and just because Plouffe has had a nice half at third base we shouldn't all of a sudden limit our options there. Besides, Skole is prob at least 1.5 years away at this point anyways.
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Fanatic Jack View Post
      The Nationals would of given us Drew Storen as the main trade piece for Denard Span. The Twins were trying to get them to throw in Lombardozzi. I was happy the trade was not made at the time but not because the Twins could of gotten more for Span.
      would have

      could have


      Sorry, but that drives me ****ing nuts.
    1. Steve Penz's Avatar
      Steve Penz -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      I would take Skole in a heart beat, the guy has some pretty awesome power and his bat could even potentially play at first base, and just because Plouffe has had a nice half at third base we shouldn't all of a sudden limit our options there. Besides, Skole is prob at least 1.5 years away at this point anyways.
      I must admit that I know nothing about Skole. These days I am suffering from starting-pitching tunnel vision so it hurts my logical thought. If Skole has solid future value then to get that for players who will not be part of the twins future is good. If nothing else it would increase our trade position for pitching down the road.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by SRP View Post
      I must admit that I know nothing about Skole. These days I am suffering from starting-pitching tunnel vision so it hurts my logical thought. If Skole has solid future value then to get that for players who will not be part of the twins future is good. If nothing else it would increase our trade position for pitching down the road.
      Much like the draft, in a trade you really should take the best prospect available. Give me a high upside bat over a #4/#5 potential starter any day.
    1. Steve Penz's Avatar
      Steve Penz -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Much like the draft, in a trade you really should take the best prospect available. Give me a high upside bat over a #4/#5 potential starter any day.
      That seems like kind of a broad brushstroke. At what point will you address need?
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Much like the draft, in a trade you really should take the best prospect available. Give me a high upside bat over a #4/#5 potential starter any day.
      I agree to a point, but to be fair, at one point you have to consider organizational need. Otherwise you end up with a rotation that is fronted by Nick Blackburn and a bunch of AAA guys.
    1. Parker Hageman's Avatar
      Parker Hageman -
      One player I wouldn't mind targeting would be Alex Meyer, maybe an outright swap of Liriano for Meyer would get it done?
      Meyer is one of their better prospect right now but, unfortunately, after being drafted in 2011, he was not signed until August - which means he cannot be outright traded this trade deadline. He would need to be a Player To Be Named Later.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
      I agree to a point, but to be fair, at one point you have to consider organizational need. Otherwise you end up with a rotation that is fronted by Nick Blackburn and a bunch of AAA guys.
      Yeah at some point, but when its a high upside guy like Matt Skole vs a non upside pitcher you go with Matt Skole 10 times out of 10. I'm really not interested in trading for any pitcher that doesn't have at least a #2 starter upside. We have plenty of guys who can man the #4/#5 and probably even the #3 spots moving forward in Gibson, Diamond and one of Hendriks/Walters/Blackburn/etc
    1. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      I think the Twins will get Lombardozzi at some point in the next 12.5 months. He's actually a pretty good stopgap, who could make Casilla and Carroll obselete. The point, though, is pitching. They would have to get Lombardozzi in addition to an arm.
    1. jdogg4949's Avatar
      jdogg4949 -
      Yes let's trade Span for a guy who's ceiling is utility player (read Lombardozzi )...
    1. Parker Hageman's Avatar
      Parker Hageman -
      Quote Originally Posted by Fanatic Jack View Post
      Roger Bernadina was a throw in. The Nationals would of given us Drew Storen as the main trade piece for Denard Span. The Twins were trying to get them to throw in Lombardozzi.
      Even as a throw in, Bernadina was a throw away - but the Twins were asking for Bernadina at first (as the reports go) and then shifted to Lombardozzi later on.
    1. chopper0080's Avatar
      chopper0080 -
      Skole interests me as we are lacking in prospects at 3B and even better if he could transition to 1B. I know we have Harrison and Sano, but you can never have enough corner, power bats in the system. I would also prefer a high end pitcher or a nice middle infielder, but Skole would be a decent consolation prize.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by jdogg4949 View Post
      Yes let's trade Span for a guy who's ceiling is utility player (read Lombardozzi )...
      Nobody is saying that... people are saying Lombardozzi would be a nice 2nd or 3rd piece of a trade with the Twins. Sorta like when we traded Milton and got back Silva and Punto.

      Lombardozzi FWIW would have some value on this team, it would allow the Twins to trade away Caroll and DFA Casilla (saving a total of 3-4 mil or so between the two) and he would be an instant upgrade at 2B.

      Also I'm not sure why his ceiling is a utility player?
      He had a .780 OPS in the minors including an .842 OPS in AA. No reason why he couldn't easily post a .740-.760 OPS (if not higher down the road) at 2nd base, which would make him a pretty viable option for a few years.
    1. DPJ's Avatar
      DPJ -
      Brian Goodwin or bust!
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