Ranking Washington Nationals' Best Minor League Bargaining Chips

Michael Nargi@NargOnSportsSenior Analyst IJuly 17, 2013

Ranking Washington Nationals' Best Minor League Bargaining Chips

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    The Washington Nationals might need some help if they want to make the playoffs this season. That help might need to come via a trade in which they will have to give away some of their most intriguing minor leaguers.

    There are five players that are realistic options for the Nationals to use as trade bait at this year's deadline. 

    Let's take a look at them and what makes them interesting options for the Nationals to trade and other teams to acquire.

5. Zach Walters, SS

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    Zach Walters is the Nationals' Triple-A shortstop in Syracuse. 

    Walters was tearing up the minors until he arrived in Triple-A last season. After hitting at least .300 in all of his minor league stops, Walters' average dropped to .260 when he reached Syracuse last season.

    This season the slump has continued, as he is only hitting .241 and has an alarming 86 to 11 strikeout to walk ratio.

    With Ian Desmond already established in Washington, it is hard to imagine that he has a place on this team going forward, so it might be beneficial for the Nats to try to get something back in return.

4. Tony Renda, 2B

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    Tony Renda is having a nice season for Class A Hagerstown with 29 doubles and 37 RBI. He is an interesting option for the Nationals to trade because of the recent transition that they have had Anthony Rendon make from third to second base.

    With Rendon looking as though he will be the Nats' second baseman of the future, Renda's talents might not ever make it to D.C.

3. Brian Goodwin, CF

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    The 22-year-old center fielder for the Harrisburg Senators is showing his potential this season. He has smashed 13 doubles, eight triples and seven home runs this season.

    The Nationals seem to have their outfield situation figured out and can afford to part ways with Goodwin. It does not look like Goodwin is going to take Bryce Harper or Denard Span's spot any time this season, so it might be worth putting him on the trading block.

2. A.J. Cole, P

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    The 21-year-old A.J. Cole is pitching for Class A Carolina League and has struck out 99 batters in 91.1 innings while only allowing 22 walks.

    He has struggled with giving up the home run ball, but he still can be a valuable commodity to any ballclub going forward. Pitching prospects are highly regarded around the league, and Cole could certainly be a part of a package to bring some talent to D.C. this season.

1. Nathan Karns, P

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    Karns had his taste of big league action this season and did not fair well. In three games, he had a 7.50 ERA, compared to a 3.45 ERA in 14 games started at the minor league level. 

    Despite being back in Harrisburg, Karns has still proven that he has incredible potential, even though he might not be ready for immediate success at the Major League level.

    He is a player that the Nationals might have to turn to late in the season if they do not trade him, which is why they should take advantage of any trade opportunities that are presented to them for Karns.