The Nationals’ eight-game winning streak has lifted them one game away from .500 and not far from contention for the National League wild card spot. Their sudden success, General Manager Mike Rizzo said, will not alter the team’s plans in regard to making trades and moves during the season.
“We have a plan and a vision with the team, what we’d like the team to look like through this year and at the end of this year and into next year,” Rizzo said. “Our plans won’t change. We’ll have the same strategy as far as the trade deadline and that type of thing.”
The Nationals have several players in the final year of contracts other teams will likely have interest in, most obviously starting pitcher Jason Marquis. He is in the final year of a two-year, $15 million contract. This season, he is 7-2 with a 3.86 ERA.
Rizzo clearly does not want to let a couple hot or cold weeks shift his big-picture mindset on how to build his team. Still, it seems hard to imagine the Nationals’ spot in the standings will have no impact on their deadline decisions.
If the Nationals are a couple games out of the wild card lead in late July, it would become difficult for them to part with Marquis. But if they sink back toward the bottom of the standings and contenders in need of a starter target Marquis, it would probably make too much sense not to consider dealing him.