Matching the Washington Nationals With Their Most Likely MLB Trade Deadline Targets

ST LOUIS, MO - JULY 16: Felipe Vazquez #73 of the Pittsburgh Pirates delivers a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals in the ninth inning at Busch Stadium on July 16, 2019 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

The Washington Nationals have flipped the script on their 2019 season. After losing Bryce Harper in the offseason, many expected a down year for the Nationals, and the team sat at 24-33 entering the month of June.

Since then, the Nationals have been one of the hottest teams in baseball, as they now own a 51-45 record. Now, a team that looked poised to be a seller at the July 31 MLB Trade Deadline is suddenly a potential buyer. With that in mind, here are five players that may be heading to the nation's capital by month's end.

5. Mychal Givens, RP, Baltimore Orioles

DENVER, COLORADO - MAY 24: Pitcher Mychal Givens #60 of the Baltimore Orioles throws in the sixth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on May 24, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

The Baltimore Orioles could sell anything that isn't bolted to the ground, as they are currently 31-67. Since Washington's biggest need is arguably relief pitching, the Nationals are likely to pursue some bullpen help. Mychal Givens has been inconsistent this year (4.23 ERA, 1.20 WHIP), but he has been pitching better as of late and has electric stuff (12.21 K/9). He's likely to get moved, but he may not need to travel too far if the Nationals can strike a deal with the Orioles.

4. Jake Diekman, RP, Kansas City Royals

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JUNE 14: Jake Diekman #40 of the Kansas City Royals delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the eighth inning of the game on June 14, 2019 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Royals 2-0. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The Kansas City Royals are another team that is likely to sell, even if it's just spare parts from their bullpen. Jake Diekman could make a lot of sense in Washington, as he's held opposing hitters to a .204 batting average thus far, and has a K/9 rate of 13.39. If a deal goes down, Diekman would be returning to the NL East after starting his career with the Philadelphia Phillies.

3. Eric Sogard, 2B/SS, Toronto Blue Jays

TORONTO, ON - JUNE 28:  Eric Sogard #5 of the Toronto Blue Jays hits a home run in the seventh inning during a MLB game against the Kansas City Royals at Rogers Centre on June 28, 2019 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

If Washington instead decides to pursue a hitter, Eric Sogard of the Toronto Blue Jays could be an excellent fit. The Nats could use a utility player to play in both the middle infield and the outfield, and Sogard is in the midst of a career year, hitting .305 with 10 HRs. There should be several teams in the running to acquire Sogard, as he likely won't cost as much as some of the other hitters reportedly on the market.

2. Madison Bumgarner, SP, San Francisco Giants

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - JULY 06:  Madison Bumgarner #40 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning at Oracle Park on July 06, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

If the Nationals choose to build on a strength, they can make a big-time offer to the San Francisco Giants for lefty Madison Bumgarner. Washington's rotation already includes Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin, so adding MadBum could create a potentially devastating playoff rotation. Bumgarner has several suitors, however, so the Nats would really need to raise the stakes, perhaps offering a youngster like Carter Kieboom or Victor Robles, to get a deal done.

1. Felipe Vázquez, RP, Pittsburgh Pirates

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 31:  Felipe Vazquez #73 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches during the ninth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at PNC Park on May 31, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Again, the Nationals' biggest need is arguably an impact arm out of the bullpen, as their relievers' combined 5.86 ERA ranks second-worst in MLB. If Washington wants to go after an established reliever, Felipe Vásquez of the Pittsburgh Pirates could be an option. The two-time All-Star (2018, 2019) has been a rumored trade target, but would definitely require a larger haul than the previously named relievers on this list. Vázquez is having another stellar year for the Pirates (1.96 ERA, 21 saves) and could be the perfect fit for the surging Nationals.

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