Baseball’s trading season will begin soon, and General Manager Mike Rizzo laid out his early plan before tonight’s game.
“We’d like to get a big, left-handed bat. His name is Harper,” Rizzo said. “He’s on the horizon. We’d like to get a right-handed hitting catcher named Ramos. He’s on the horizon.”
That’s a pretty good line, but Rizzo had a deeper point. He wants to gauge how the Nationals’ perform as a full, healthy unit before he pulls the trigger on any trades. The Nationals could use a starting pitcher for extra depth (and a possible replacement for Dan Haren), along with a right-handed bat good enough to start occasionally. But before the Nationals do anything, Rizzo wants to evaluate the Nationals at full strength, with Bryce Harper and Wilson Ramos.
“We have two main cogs our lineup that have been out for an extended period of time,” Rizzo said. “We haven’t had our lineup together since April 14. Hopefully, everyone will be healthy at the same time, and we’ll see what the lineup can do when we’ve got all of our players playing and everyone is starting to hit on all cylinders.”
The Nationals, as my colleague Thomas Boswell suggested, could be in position to add a starting pitcher, and they have the financial flexibility to take on salary. But Rizzo insisted he wants to give Haren another look when he comes off the disabled list with shoulder inflammation. Haren went on the disabled list last year after a mighty struggle, too, and when he came back he posted a .3.58 ERA in 13 starts.
“What gives me hope is that he’s got a great track record,” Rizzo said. “The caliber of pitcher he is, I don’ think we’ve seen here. He’s a much better pitcher than that. His track record shows it. We’ll gauge him when he’s fully healthy and see where he’s at.”