Each MLB Team's Best, Worst Offseason Move Thus Far
From the Chicago Cubs bringing in Joe Maddon to the Toronto Blue Jays handing out a monster deal to Russell Martin, MLB teams have made some good decisions and some not-so-good ones this offseason.
What follows is a look around the league at the best and worst moves that each squad has made so far. In certain cases, "best" and "worst" were relative terms.
Simply put, some teams didn't make any deals that can truly be described as "bad." On the other side of the spectrum, some clubs didn't make any decisions that can truly be labeled "good."
For the New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles and others, the "worst" move was that the teams just haven't done enough this winter. For the Washington Nationals and Cincinnati Reds, the "worst" move referred to the failure to reach new agreements with stars who could soon head out of town.
The Best Move: Signing Pat Neshek
Pat Neshek was lights-out for the St. Louis Cardinals last season.
The veteran reliever posted a 1.87 ERA for the National League Central champs after signing with the team as a minor league free agent. That showing with the Cards earned Neshek a two-year, $12.5 million deal with the Houston Astros. If Neshek has a comparable season in Houston, then he could be a valuable trade chip for the team in July.
The Worst Move: Signing Jed Lowrie
The 2014 season didn't go to plan for Jed Lowrie. The switch-hitter checked in with a .249 average and connected on just six home runs. The 30-year-old's glove work at shortstop was suspect at best, as his range and arm strength were both underwhelming.
What makes his three-year, $23 million deal look particularly bad is that Asdrubal Cabrera signed with the Tampa Rays on a one-year, $8 million contract.
Los Angeles Angels
The Best Move: Trading for Andrew Heaney
By trading Howie Kendrick to the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Los Angeles Angels were able to acquire Andrew Heaney, who is one of the most promising young starters in baseball. The lefty was the No. 9 overall pick in the 2012 MLB draft. After making seven appearances for the Miami Marlins last season, he now has the chance to prove that he's ready to excel in the major leagues.
The Worst Move: Trading away Kevin Jepsen
Last season, Kevin Jepsen was a key member of the Angels bullpen. That won't be the case in 2015 after the American League West team jettisoned him to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for Matt Joyce. Jepsen will be missed in Los Angeles after putting together a career year, as he posted a 2.63 ERA in 74 outings.
The Best Move: Trading for Jesse Hahn
The Oakland Athletics snapped up Jesse Hahn in a four-player trade with the San Diego Padres in December. Considering that Sonny Gray and Scott Kazmir are the only two established pitchers in the club's starting rotation, Hahn has an excellent opportunity to take on a prominent role with the staff.
In 2014, the right-handed starter was impressive in his rookie season in San Diego. In 14 outings (12 starts), the 25-year-old reeled off a 7-4 record and a 3.07 ERA.
The Worst Move: Trading away Jeff Samardzija
It's no surprise that Oakland moved Jeff Samardzija this offseason. After all, the starter is set to become a free agent at the end of the 2015 season.
In the deal that also included minor leaguer Michael Ynoa, the Athletics received the following four players:
- Chris Bassitt
- Rangel Ravelo
- Josh Phegley
- Marcus Semien
All four could end up contributing for Oakland in 2015. The problem with the return is that none of those players has anywhere near the same kind of upside of Addison Russell. He was the centerpiece of the trade last summer that originally brought Samardzija to the O.co Coliseum. Per MLB.com, the Cubs' Russell is the No. 5 prospect in all of the minor leagues.
The Best Move: Signing Nelson Cruz
The main reason why the Seattle Mariners missed out on a wild-card spot in 2014 was that they simply couldn't score enough runs. That lack of offensive firepower led the M's to bring in Nelson Cruz on a four-year, $57 million deal.
A four-year pact is risky for a player who turns 35 in July, but Cruz has the kind of bat that's worth taking a chance on.
The Worst Move: Trading for J.A. Happ
The owner of a 4.39 ERA over the past three seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays, J.A. Happ figures to be a middle-of-the-rotation starter in Seattle. While Happ should provide the Mariners with some value in 2015, trading away Michael Saunders was too steep of a price. Last year, the 28-year-old outfielder put up an .831 OPS against right-handed pitching, per ESPN.com.
The Best Move: Trading for Ross Detwiler
One of the top priorities for the Texas Rangers this offseason has been strengthening the team's rotation. That's just what they did by acquiring Ross Detwiler from the Washington Nationals in exchange for minor leaguers Christopher Bostick and Abel De Los Santos.
Detwiler spent all of last season pitching out of the bullpen, but the lefty made 40 starts for the Nats during 2012 and 2013.
The Worst Move: Not making use of the team's surplus of middle infielders on the trade block
The Rangers have a lot of options at shortstop and second base. The following middle infielders will all be in the mix in 2015:
- Elvis Andrus
- Jurickson Profar
- Rougned Odor
- Luis Sardinas
With four men for two spots, trading one of those players this winter would have made a ton of sense for Texas. From a financial perspective, finding a way to ship out Andrus would be the best course of action. The shortstop is about to begin his eight-year, $118 million contract extension.
Chicago White Sox
The Best Move: Signing Melky Cabrera
From the trade for Jeff Samardzija to the signings of Adam LaRoche and Melky Cabrera, there are a lot of options to choose from when it comes to picking the Chicago White Sox's best move of the offseason.
The nod goes to Cabrera's three-year, $42 million deal simply because of the value that contract will provide the AL Central club. Prominent free agents like Cabrera rarely settle for three-year contracts. What makes this one particularly team-friendly is that Cabrera, who hit .301 in 2014, is still just 30 years old.
The Worst Move: Signing David Robertson
Chicago's most questionable move of the offseason so far has been the decision to sign David Robertson. Sure, the right-hander has been an All-Star and is one of the premier closers in the game. Still, four years and $46 million is a lot of years and dollars to commit to any reliever.
The Best Move: Trading for Brandon Moss
Brandon Moss has all sorts of power.
The left-handed hitter clubbed 25 home runs in 2014 even though a hip injury resulted in him going yard just four times after the All-Star break. If he's healthy, Moss will provide the Cleveland Indians with tons of pop in 2015. What makes this an especially strong trade for the Tribe is that the deal with the Oakland Athletics only cost the team minor league second baseman Joe Wendle.
The Worst Move: Signing Gavin Floyd
Cleveland hasn't made a lot of additions to the big league roster. The riskiest move is the decision to sign Gavin Floyd to a one-year, $4 million deal. The 31-year-old has made just 14 starts since 2012, as he was sidelined for much of the past two seasons following elbow surgery. In addition to his base salary, Floyd can make up to $6 million in incentives.
The Best Move: Trading for Yoenis Cespedes
The Detroit Tigers had to pay to get Yoenis Cespedes.
They parted with Rick Porcello in the swap with the Boston Red Sox that sent the Cuban left fielder and pitchers Alex Wilson and Gabe Speier to Detroit. That's a price worth paying, as the trio of Cespedes, Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez gives the Tigers one of the most dangerous lineup combinations in baseball.
The Worst Move: Trading for Alfredo Simon
After shipping out Porcello, the Tigers needed to bring in another starter. That situation prompted the acquisition of Alfredo Simon from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for shortstop Eugenio Suarez and starter Jonathon Crawford.
On the surface, Simon looks like a strong addition. Last year, the veteran right-hander went 15-10 with a 3.44 ERA. The problem is that he tailed off badly in the second half of the season. In 14 starts after the All-Star break, he put up a 3-7 record with a 4.52 ERA.
Kansas City Royals
The Best Move: Signing Edinson Volquez
Quietly, Edinson Volquez had an impressive season for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2014.
The right-handed starter posted a 13-7 record with a 3.04 ERA. If Volquez can match those numbers over the next couple of seasons, the Kansas City Royals will receive excellent value from the two-year, $20 million deal dished out to the starter.
The Worst Move: Signing Kendrys Morales
There's no reason to hand a multiyear contract to a designated hitter who is rebounding from a season in which he hit .218 with a .612 OPS. That's exactly what the Royals did by signing Kendrys Morales to a two-year, $17 million deal.
The Best Move: Signing Ervin Santana
Finding quality starting pitchers has been a major problem for the Minnesota Twins. In each of the past two seasons, the team's starters have posted the worst ERA in baseball.
Signing Ervin Santana to a four-year, $55 million deal will definitely help the Twins in that department. The starter has recorded a sub-4.00 ERA in four of the past five seasons. Plus, Santana has already succeeded in the AL Central, posting a 3.24 ERA for the Kansas City Royals back in 2013.
The Worst Move: Signing Torii Hunter
The Twins haven't made any awful moves this winter, but the decision to bring back Torii Hunter qualifies as an odd one. The club added him on a one-year, $10.5 million deal even though it's highly unlikely that the Twins will be anywhere near playoff contention in 2015. As a result, the 39-year-old will essentially be a well-paid mentor.
The Best Move: Signing J.P. Arencibia
There's no downside to the Baltimore Orioles' decision to sign J.P Arencibia.
According to Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun, the O's and the 29-year-old have agreed to a minor league deal. While Arencibia struggled with the Texas Rangers last season, he clubbed 21 home runs for the Toronto Blue Jays back in 2013.
The Worst Move: Deciding not to trade away one of the team's six starters
With Wei-Yin Chen, Chris Tillman, Kevin Gausman, Bud Norris, Miguel Gonzalez and Ubaldo Jimenez all on the roster, the Orioles have six starters for five spots. After losing both Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis in free agency, trading one of those starters for an extra outfielder would have been a logical course of action for the AL East squad.
Boston Red Sox
The Best Move: Signing Hanley Ramirez
The Boston Red Sox snagged one of the most dangerous hitters of the entire free-agent class by signing Hanley Ramirez to a four-year, $88 million deal. Left field at Fenway Park could be challenging, but Ramirez will make up for any defensive limitations with his bat.
The Worst Move: Failing to add a No. 1 starter
The Red Sox have done a lot to improve the starting staff. Boston brought in Justin Masterson on a one-year, $9.5 million deal and also traded for Rick Porcello and Wade Miley.
Even with those three additions, the Red Sox are still lacking an ace. Unless the team wants to make a surprise run for Max Scherzer, the best way to find a No. 1 starter will be through the trade market.
New York Yankees
The Best Move: Trading for Didi Gregorius
It remains to be seen just how much Didi Gregorius will hit at the big league level. In parts of three seasons, the 24-year-old is a career .243 hitter.
What's not in question is the shortstop's skills in the field. Gregorius, whom the New York Yankees acquired in a three-team swap with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Detroit Tigers, has an impressive range and a powerful arm.
The Worst Move: Not doing enough to bolster the starting rotation
With spring training rapidly approaching, the Yankees rotation is still looking shaky.
So far, the club has added Nathan Eovaldi and Chris Capuano to the mix. With the AL East shaping up to be a highly competitive division in 2015, the Yankees need to add one more front-line starter either via trade or the free-agent front.
Tampa Bay Rays
The Best Move: Signing Asdrubal Cabrera
Signed to a one-year, $8 million deal, Asdrubal Cabrera is a strong addition for the Tampa Bay Rays. The veteran is not only capable of playing both second base and shortstop, but his presence also allows Tampa Bay to shop Ben Zobrist. According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the highly versatile switch-hitter would be an "almost perfect" fit for the Washington Nationals.
The Worst Move: Signing Ernesto Frieri
The Rays will only pay Ernesto Frieri $800,000 in 2015, but it's debatable if the reliever is even worth that much.
Last year, he posted a 6.39 ERA with the Los Angeles Angels before the AL West club shipped him to the Pittsburgh Pirates. With Pittsburgh, the 29-year-old was even worse. In 14 appearances, the right-hander recorded a 10.13 ERA.
Toronto Blue Jays
The Best Move: Trading for Josh Donaldson
The Toronto Blue Jays had to give up a lot to acquire Josh Donaldson.
To pry the 29-year-old away from the Oakland Athletics, the Blue Jays dealt four players: Brett Lawrie, Sean Nolin, Kendall Graveman and Franklin Barreto.
For Toronto, that's a deal worth making because players like Donaldson almost never hit the trade block. The third baseman is under team control for four more seasons and is one of the best all-around position players in the AL.
The Worst Move: Signing Russell Martin
Russell Martin is a ridiculously valuable player. Last year, the backstop was a Gold Glove finalist while reaching base at a .402 clip and posting an .832 OPS.
The problem is the contract. Signing a catcher, who turns 32 in February, to a five-year, $82 million deal is a bad idea.
The Best Move: Signing Yasmany Tomas
Yasmany Tomas has big-time power, as you can see in the video above.
There's always a risk when a club signs a player to a multiyear deal before he ever plays a major league game, but there's also a lot to like about the Arizona Diamondbacks' six-year, $68.5 million deal with the Cuban slugger. Tomas not only supplies tons of power but is also just 24 years old.
The Worst Move: Trading Miguel Montero
From a financial perspective, sending Miguel Montero to the Chicago Cubs made all sorts of sense for the Diamondbacks.
In the deal, which brought back minor leaguers Jeferson Mejia and Zack Godley, the D-backs saved $40 million. The problem is that following the trade, Tuffy Gosewisch became the team's most established backstop. General manager Dave Stewart still has time to bring in another catcher, but at the moment the D-backs are dangerously thin at that position.
The Best Move: Signing Nick Hundley
Nick Hundley isn't going to provide the Colorado Rockies with a lot of offensive production.
However, the backstop, who signed a two-year, $6.25 million deal, will provide the club with a strong defensive presence behind the dish. That makes Hundley a crucial addition for a team whose pitching staff posted the worst ERA in baseball in 2014.
The Worst Move: Not improving the rotation
There's not much reason for optimism when it comes to the Rockies' starting rotation.
The group checked in with the worst ERA in the NL in 2014. This winter, Colorado hasn't made a single significant move in free agency or on the trade market to improve the staff. Without the addition of a new arm or two before Opening Day, the Rockies are once again headed for an underwhelming season.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Best Move: Trading for Jimmy Rollins
Jimmy Rollins is a perfect fit with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The NL West club snagged the shortstop by sending minor leaguers Zach Eflin and Tom Windle to the Philadelphia Phillies. The 36-year-old not only provides quality glove work at a premier defensive position, but he also still has some pop left in his bat. Last year, Rollins connected on 17 home runs for the Phillies.
The Worst Move: Trading away Matt Kemp
The Matt Kemp trade, a five-player deal with the San Diego Padres, saved the Dodgers a lot of money. The outfielder still has $107 million on his contract, and Los Angeles will now only have to pay $32 million of the remaining amount.
The move also cost the Dodgers a lot of right-handed pop. With Hanley Ramirez departing via free agency, Los Angeles has lost two powerful threats from the right side of the plate.
San Diego Padres
The Best Move: Trading for Justin Upton
The San Diego Padres have been one of the busiest teams in baseball this offseason.
The move that stands out the most was the six-player trade with the Atlanta Braves that brought Justin Upton to Petco Park. He is only under club control for one season, but he offers the kind of right-handed pop that is nearly impossible to acquire. The outfielder has connected on 56 home runs over the past two seasons for the Braves.
The Worst Move: Trading for Brandon Maurer
The Seth Smith trade made sense. After trading for Upton, Matt Kemp and Wil Myers, San Diego didn't have room for Smith in the outfield.
Still, the team should have been able to get more for a player who led the team in OPS a season ago. In the deal with the Seattle Mariners, the Padres received Brandon Maurer, who is the owner of a 5.58 ERA in two seasons in the major leagues.
San Francisco Giants
The Best Move: Re-signing Sergio Romo
One of the keys to the San Francisco Giants' World Series run was the club's unheralded but highly effective bullpen. By re-signing Sergio Romo to a two-year, $15 million deal, the Giants have assured that the top three bullpen options—Romo, Jeremy Affeldt and Santiago Casilla—will all be back in 2015.
The Worst Move: Trading for Casey McGehee
After losing out on Pablo Sandoval, the Giants had to scramble to find a new third baseman.
Ultimately, San Francisco opted to acquire Casey McGehee from the Florida Marlins in exchange for minor leaguers Luis Castillo and Kendry Flores. In 2014, McGehee hit .287, but the journeyman fell off in a big way after the All-Star break. In the second half of the season, the 32-year-old put up just a .620 OPS.
The Best Move: Trading for Marlon Byrd
One of the primary goals for the Cincinnati Reds this offseason was to find an impact hitter to play left field. That's just what the team accomplished by acquiring Marlon Byrd from the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for starter Ben Lively. Last year, Byrd ranked No. 8 in the NL with 25 home runs.
The Worst Move: Failing to sign Johnny Cueto to a contract extension
According to Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports, there has been "no recent progress" between the Reds and Johnny Cueto regarding a potential contract extension.
Time is running out for the Reds to sign the ace to a multiyear deal. Cueto's agent, Bryce Dixon, told Jon Heyman of CBS Sports that the right-hander will end contract talks once Opening Day arrives, "Then he's going to be focused on the season and trying to do what he can for Cincinnati," Dixon said. The starter becomes a free agent at the end of the 2015 season.
The Best Move: Signing Joe Maddon
It's been a monster offseason for the Chicago Cubs.
The NL Central squad brought in Jon Lester, Jason Hammel and Miguel Montero, among others. Even with all those new faces, the most important signing of all has been the addition of manager Joe Maddon. After winning 90 games or more in five of his final seven seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays, he is just the skipper to guide the Cubs back into contention.
The Worst Move: Signing Jason Motte
This signing isn't so much a bad one as a risky one.
The Cubs guaranteed Jason Motte $4.5 million on a one-year deal even though the reliever has yet to return to his pre-Tommy John-surgery form. Last year, the right-hander put up a 4.68 ERA in 29 outings for the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Best Move: Trading for Adam Lind
Adam Lind absolutely battered right-handed pitchers in 2014.
The first baseman, whom the club acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for Marco Estrada, hit .354 against righties in 2014. Lind only connected on six home runs in 96 games, but he still posted a .321 batting average.
The Worst Move: Not making significant changes after the team's second-half collapse
It's been a quiet offseason for a team that face-planted in the second half of 2014.
The only significant addition to Milwaukee's roster has been Lind. That lack of activity is confusing, considering their late-season demise. According to ESPN Stats & Info, the Brewers became just the fourth team since 1995 to miss out on October after sitting in first place for at least 150 days.
The Best Move: Re-signing Francisco Liriano
The Pittsburgh Pirates' three-year, $39 million deal with Francisco Liriano is looking like one of the best moves of the offseason.
Aside from Jon Lester, Liriano was the best left-handed starter on the free-agent market. The Pirates were able to re-sign the 31-year-old at fraction of the cost of the $155 million payday the Chicago Cubs handed to Lester.
The Worst Move: Trading for Antonio Bastardo
The Pirates haven't made any glaringly bad moves this offseason. One deal that could go sideways is the trade for Antonio Bastardo.
Pittsburgh acquired the lefty reliever from the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for minor league starter Joely Rodriguez. Bastardo has a knack for producing strikeouts, as he posted an 11.4 strikeout-per-nine-inning ratio in 2014. However, he also gave up a lot of runs. In the second half of the season, he recorded a 4.84 ERA in 26 outings.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Best Move: Trading for Jason Heyward
There aren't many outfielders who cover more ground than Jason Heyward.
The St. Louis Cardinals added the 25-year-old right fielder in a swap with the Atlanta Braves. In that trade, the Cardinals also acquired reliever Jordan Walden while sending starter Shelby Miller and starting pitching prospect Tyrell Jenkins to Atlanta.
Now, the question is whether the Cardinals will look to lock up Heyward with a multiyear contract extension. The Gold Glove winner can become a free agent at the end of the 2015 season.
The Worst Move: Not making use of the club's "financial flexibility"
The Cardinals haven't made any big splashes on the free-agent front this offseason.
However, the team has the means to do so if it wants. Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com explains that "the Cardinals do have the financial flexibility to add a high-priced player." One who would definitely fit that description is Max Scherzer.
The Best Move: Signing Jason Grilli
With the Atlanta Braves in full rebuild mode, there hasn't been a lot of positive news for the club this offseason. One move that could pay dividends is the addition of Jason Grilli on a two-year, $8.25 million deal. The 38-year-old reliever had an up-and-down season a year ago, but he was an All-Star back in 2013.
The Worst Move: Signing Nick Markakis
It's almost unheard of for a free agent to sign a multiyear deal and then immediately undergo surgery. That's exactly what happened with Nick Markakis.
After agreeing to a four-year, $44 million deal with the Braves, the outfielder promptly underwent fusion surgery on his neck to fix a herniated disc.
According to David O'Brien of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Markakis is expected to be ready to go for the start of spring training. Still, the health of his neck will definitely be a storyline to keep track of as the season gets underway.
The Best Move: Trading for Mat Latos
Mat Latos is one of the most underrated starters in the NL.
The right-hander was limited to just 16 starts in 2014 due to knee and elbow injuries, but he has produced an impressive major league resume. Latos has posted an ERA of 3.48 or lower in each of the past five seasons and has made at least 31 starts in four of those campaigns.
To acquire Latos, the Miami Marlins only had to part with catcher Chad Wallach and pitcher Anthony DeSclafani in a trade with the Cincinnati Reds.
The Worst Move: Signing Giancarlo Stanton to a contract extension
Based on the Marlins' recent track record of selling off nearly all of the team's best players, it's encouraging to see them lock up Giancarlo Stanton.
The right fielder is unquestionably one of the best position players in baseball. Still, a 13-year, $325 million deal is just too exorbitant for any player—even one as good as Stanton.
New York Mets
The Best Move: Not trading away a promising starting pitcher
For the New York Mets, the best move of the offseason is the move they didn't make.
With Wilmer Flores slated to start at shortstop, there has been rampant speculation about the Mets trading for Troy Tulowitzki of the Colorado Rockies. As Jon Heyman of CBS Sports notes, Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler have come up in trade talks.
Considering the remarkable upside that starters like Syndergaard and Wheeler have, the Mets' decision to hold on to those arms will prove to be a shrewd move.
The Worst Move: Signing Michael Cuddyer
Michael Cuddyer can flat-out hit.
The problem with New York's two-year, $21 million deal is that the veteran has an extensive injury history. Last year, the right-handed hitter appeared in just 49 games for the Rockies. There's also the consideration that the Mets had to part with the club's first-round pick to sign Cuddyer because he rejected Colorado's qualifying offer.
The Best Move: Signing Aaron Harang
Aaron Harang should provide the Philadelphia Phillies with plenty of value in 2015. The 36-year-old starter, who agreed to a $5 million deal with the NL East club, enjoyed a productive season with the Atlanta Braves in 2014. He racked up 204.1 innings of work and posted a 12-12 record with a 3.57 ERA.
The Worst Move: Not managing to get rid of Ryan Howard
Admittedly, dealing away Ryan Howard is all but impossible.
The first baseman hit .223 in 2014 and is still owed a minimum of $60 million over the next three seasons. Plus, as Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com notes, Howard can block trades to 20 big league teams. Still, getting out from under his contract would be a big help to the Phillies' much-needed rebuilding process.
The Best Move: Trading for Trea Turner and Joe Ross
After winning 96 games in 2014, the Washington Nationals didn't need to make many changes to the big league roster this offseason.
While it's been a quiet winter, the Nats have managed to add some impact prospects. Back in December, the club was involved in a three-team, 11-player swap with the San Diego Padres and Tampa Bay Rays. In the trade, Washington landed starter Joe Ross and shortstop Trea Turner as a player to be named later.
As one executive explained via Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports: “They are the clear winner. Not even close.” By acquiring Turner, the Nationals now have an excellent backup plan at shortstop should free-agent-to-be Ian Desmond depart at the end of next season.
The Worst Move: Failing to sign Jordan Zimmermann to a contract extension
Time is running out for the Nationals to re-up Jordan Zimmermann.
The right-handed starter, who threw a no-hitter in his final regular-season start in 2014, becomes a free agent at the end of the next season. As Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post reports, a deal would need to be reached before spring training because Zimmermann doesn't want to have contract discussions during the season. In the middle of December, he offered an update on the situation, via Janes, saying: “I’m hopeful, but we got a lot of talking to do.”
If nothing comes of the talks in the next month-and-a-half, the best course of action for the Nats would be to trade the ace.
If you want to talk baseball, find me on Twitter @KarlBuscheck.