The trade deadline
will strike struck today at 4 p.m. The Nationals aren’t expected to make any major moves, but as the cliché goes this time of year, everything can change with one phone call. We’ll keep posted you here with rumblings for the Nationals and how deals across the league make an impact on the Nationals. The most recent updates will appear closest to the top.
4:19: Via @AdamKilgoreWP — [Mark] Lerner says, “We’re going all the way with what we’ve got in this room.”
4:12: The 4 p.m. trade deadline came, and it appears the National stood pat; no moves to announce.
Another coveted starter, Chicago Cubs right-hander Ryan Dempster, will avoid the NL East. Dempster, who reportedly almost landed with the Atlanta Braves last week, was traded to the Texas Rangers, according to multiple reports.
3:25: Both catchers Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Kelly Shoppach are in the Red Sox’ lineup, which suggests the Nationals will not be getting either of them. Also, Joe Blanton, the Phillies’ starter who has been rumored with the Orioles all day, is at Nationals Park and warming up in the outfield.
2:20: It’s official and, yes, the Phillies are dismantling their team. The Nationals will not have to face Shane Victorino and now Hunter Pence, whose trade to the San Francisco Giants was announced by both teams. Pence was shipped to the Giants for major league outfielder Nate Schierholtz, top catching prospect Tommy Joseph and and right-handed pitcher Seth Rosin.
1:25: Just a quick observation. In some corners there’s a sense that the Nationals are standing pat out of deference to maintaining “chemistry.” They don’t want to make a trade just to make a trade, they believe they have no urgent holes and they’re looking long-term, not simply to upgrade for a playoff run. But their inaction so far is not a product of keeping chemistry intact. Paraphrasing one high-ranking Nats executive, speaking glibly: “We think another good player would help our chemistry, actually.”
1:03 The Nats and Rangers had their conversation on veteran catcher Yorvit Torrealba, and one person involved says, “It doesn’t look like a fit.” If the Nats add a catcher, it looks like it won’t be him.
12:40: The Phillies’ remarkable unraveling continues. They are finishing up a trade that will send Hunter Pence to the Giants, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The Phillies will save a lot of money on Pence. He was making $10.4 million this year and is due for a raise in arbitration for next season. Their fire sale is on, and they are starting at their first last-place finish since 2000.
Both the Dodgers (Hanley Ramirez, Shane Victorino, possibly Ryan Dempster) and Giants (Pence) have made significant improvements today and over the last week. If the Nationals do not stave off the Braves – who themselves added Pat Maholm and Reed Johnson – there will be some heat coming from out west in the wild card race. Do all these National League upgrades affect the Nats’ thinking in the next three hours?
The Phillies have now jettisoned two outfielders. They surely do not plan on staying bad for long. Looking toward the offseason, they may have just become competition for the Nationals if they make a free agent run at Michael Bourn. — Adam Kilgore
12:05: The Phillies reportedly continue to push to unload more players. According to multiple reports, including one from Jerry Crasnick at ESPN.com, the Phillies are still discussing sending outfielder Hunter Pence to the San Francisco Giants, all while they complete a trade that would send outfielder Shane Victorino to the Los Angeles Dodgers. It seems like a smart move leveraging two NL West rivals against each other. According to Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports, Victorino has been sent to the Dodgers for reliever Josh Lindblom and starter Ethan Martin, the team’s first round pick in 2008.
Also, according to multiple reports, including one from Brittany Ghiroli at MLB.com, the Orioles have turned their attention to other starting pitchers as talks with the Phillies for starter Joe Blanton may have cooled over remaining salary and the potential return. — James Wagner
11:20: While the Nationals have said they’re comfortable with Sandy Leon and Jhonatan Solano backing up Jesus Flores, many people from other clubs think the Nats could/should bolster their depth. Another name floating out there is the Red Sox’ Kelly Shoppach, per Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
Also, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Domonic Brown is on his way to Washington to join the Phillies. He would be the replacement if Victorino is indeed traded.
10:45: It appears the Nationals won’t have to worry about Shane Victorino tonight in their series opener against the Phillies. According to multiple reports, including one from CBSSports.com, the Phillies and Dodgers are close to completing a deal that would send Victorino to the Dodgers for reliever Josh Lindblom. Victorino’s trade would officially begin the deconstruction of the Phillies five-year NL East dynasty. He was a key player in all those titles. Against the Nationals, he hit .283/.337/.421 in 423 plate appearances. Lindblom will not be a free agent until 2018, so the Nationals could be facing him in the division for years to come.
10:25: Late last night, the Braves dealt two prospects to the Cubs for left-hander Paul Maholm and outfielder Reed Johnson, giving the Nationals’ main competitor in the NL East more rotation depth and a solid right-handed bat. Johnson has worn the Nationals out the past two seasons, going 11 for 26 with three extra-base hits. He’s probably not a player they want to see more of, but now they will.
10:20: The Nationals feel pretty comfortable with their catching situation, but they could look to add experience. Later today, the Rangers are expected to reach out to the Nationals to discuss veteran Yorvit Torrealba. The Rangers designated Torrealba, 34, for assignment upon trading for Geovany Soto from the Cubs. He’s a 12-year veteran who has played in 24 playoff games. This season, he’s hitting .236 with a .643 OPS.