The Washington Nationals did nothing at the trade deadline.
They did not trade for another starting pitcher like Ryan Dempster.
They did not acquire another middle infielder such as Marco Scutaro.
And they did not add a veteran catcher like Ramon Hernandez.
So, did the Washington Nationals do enough at the trade deadline to make the playoffs?
The Washington Nationals are a very good baseball team. They are 61-42 and lead the NL East by 2.5 games as the MLB season enters the dog days of August. They got to this point with the players they have on their roster and in their farm system.
Any needs that may arise can be filled by those same players and not by players obtained from another team. And their decisions at the trade deadline reflected this belief.
When rumors and speculation swirled around the baseball world that the Nationals would trade for a starting pitcher like Ryan Dempster, Zack Greinke or Francisco Liriano to take the place of Stephen Strasburg when he is eventually shut down, the Nationals made no such trade. Instead, the team will call on the services of starting pitchers John Lannan and Ross Detwiler.
When the Nationals looked at 15 to 20 middle infielders, including Marco Scutaro, Jamey Carroll and Nick Punto, in an attempt to find a temporary replacement for injured shortstop Ian Desmond, they decided against a deal. The Nats instead chose to rely on the middle infielders already playing for their team.
Starting second baseman Danny Espinosa has moved back to his natural position of shortstop, while utility man extraordinaire Steve Lombardozzi has moved back to his natural position of second base.
And finally, when the Nationals contemplated adding a veteran catcher like Ramon Hernandez or Kelly Shoppach, they chose to stick with the catchers they already have.
Jesus Flores has performed admirably in place of starting catcher Wilson Ramos, and the backup role has been filled surprisingly well by rookies Jhonatan Solano and Sandy Leon.
The Washington Nationals' inaction at the trade deadline cannot be perceived as a failure. It was all part of General Manager Mike Rizzo's plan, as told to The Washington Post:
All along we said we like who we are, and we like where we’re at and we like the composition of the roster. We didn’t see a whole lot of holes to fill. It’s not about complacency, but it’s about making good, sound decisions – not taking the short route with rental players that could affect us long-term.
We feel we’re in position to play meaningful games this September and beyond and there wasn’t a whole lot of necessity to make a deal...We’ve got a plan and a vision in place and we’ve stuck to it. And we’re going to continue to do so, and that’s how we made our decisions through this trade deadline...
Mike Rizzo's plan has been successful for the Washington Nationals so far this season, and it will indeed be enough for this team to reach the playoffs.