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
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
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
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
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
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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