The Nationals made their first, minor splash at the trade deadling, acquiring outfielder Jonny Gomes and cash from the Reds for two minor leagues, Bill Rhinehart and Chris Manno. The Reds will pay some, but not all, of Gomes’s remaining contract.
Gomes, 30, is hitting .211/.336/.399 for the Reds this season. At this stage of his career, Gomes is primarily a platoon player who starts against left-handed pitchers, against whom he has an .886 career OPS.
For the remainder of this season, Gomes will give the Nationals a right-handed bat off the bench and a candidate to platoon in left field with Laynce Nix. But Gomes’s acquisition could be more the future in a creative sense: Gomes is projected to be a Type B free agent, which means the Nationals will gain an extra draft pick in the supplemental if Gomes signs with another team this offseason.
The Nationals gave up outfielder Bill Rhinehart and left-handed reliever Chris Manno. Rhinehart, a 26-year-old slugging right-hander at Class AA Harrisburg, was hitting .283 with 21 homers in 276 at-bats this season. Manno, a 22-year-old closer, has allowed five earned runs in 43 1/3 innings this season, a 1.04 ERA.
Gomes’ presence also gives the Nationals an outfield replacement should they trade veteran utility man Jerry Hairston.
We’ll have more later from Mike Rizzo on the trade. Here are a few other quick trade notes:
>>> The Nationals are not actively trying to trade shortstop Ian Desmond, but they are open to listening when other teams call with interest in him. Desmond said the rumors were actually flattering in a sense, and that he’s aware that his name has surfaced.
“You can’t really help to,” Desmond said. “People that say they don’t pay attention to it or haven’t heard about it, I think they’re lying. We all have families back home. They read. They know, they follow it. They can’t help but say, ‘Hey, what’s going on?’ You got friends calling you. But it’s out of your control. All I can do is go out there and play as hard as I can every day. I’m wearing a Washington Nationals jersey right now. Whatever happens, happens.”
Desmond has been in the Nationals organization since 2004, when at 18 he was part of the Montreal Expos’ last draft class. In virtually every moment of his adult life, he has been affiliated with the Nationals.
“I’ve been here a long time,” Desmond said. “This isn’t even about baseball for me. I have family in this organization. I’ve been here since I was 18 years old. There are guys that are like father figures to me, and I’ve got teammates like brothers. So to leave this organization, it would definitely be hard. It’s a job, and as long as I have a uniform, I’ll be happy.”
One other note on Desmond: He was given the Nationals’ Heart and Hustle award, an honor given to one player on every major league and voted on by former major league players. “My whole life I’ve wanted to be a big leaguer,” Desmond said. “I don’t think there’s been a day in the big leagues that I’ve taken it for granted. It’s something I’m passionate about.”
>>> The Tigers had a scout in Los Angeles to watch Jason Marquis’s start against the Dodgers, and the Tigers have been looking to trade for a starting pitcher. Marquis’s contract runs out at the end of this season, which makes him a potential candidate to be traded. The Tigers have a scout in Washington tonight as well.
Even with the Nationals having fallen out of contention, though, General Manager Mike Rizzo does not want to punt on this season and will not trade Marquis or Livan Hernandez unless he receives back what he deems fair value. One major league executive predicted Marquis would stay put because the Nationals would not receive the return they want for Marquis.
The Twins also had a scout in Los Angeles to watch the Nationals play the Dodgers. The Nationals are trying to use the trade deadline to acquire a long-term answer in center field, and Twins center fielder Denard Span, who will not be a free agent until the 2015 season, is one of their potential targets. The Nationals are also eyeing Colby Rasmus and had a scout in St. Louis over the weekend, according to CBSSports.com.
The Rays’ B.J. Upton also remains a target of the Nationals, too, and the Rays sent a scout both to watch Class AAA Syracuse and Class A Potomac yesterday.
MLB.com reported that the Nationals are eyeing Angels center fielder Peter Bourjos, but one source doubted that Bourjos would be made available. “I didn’t even think about that,” he said. “I can’t see why they would trade him.”
Manager Davey Johnson added, “I’m really not anticipating a major trade.”