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ESPN analyst: Nats did a ‘terrible job’ at trade deadline

Mark Melancon made his Nationals debut in Arizona on Monday. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

The Nationals got their trade deadline shopping out of the way early on when they acquired Pirates closer Mark Melancon on Saturday afternoon. While Washington addressed its biggest need by finding a replacement for ineffective closer Jonathan Papelbon and didn’t have to trade one of the organization’s most coveted prospects to do so, a couple of ESPN analysts disagreed about whether the Nationals did enough to bolster their bullpen for the stretch run.

“I absolutely believe that, for what they gave up to solve the ninth inning, I’m going to put them as winners,” ESPN analyst and former Nationals GM Jim Bowden said on Monday’s edition of Baseball Tonight. “Melancon’s ERA is what, [1.48]? That’s not bad last time I checked. He converted how many saves? To me, it’s not [Aroldis] Chapman, it’s not [Andrew] Miller, and certainly you would prefer to do that, [but] they didn’t want to pay the price of Lucas Giolito, who profiles to be a number one starter down the road. For me, Melancon solved a huge problem in the ninth inning. It may not be as powerful and overpowering as the big boys, but I like the move.”

Nationals stay quiet on deadline day

Fellow ESPN analyst Buster Olney suggested that Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo will regret his decision to not part with Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Victor Robles or Trea Turner in a potential deal for Chapman, who went to the Cubs in exchange for Chicago’s No. 1 prospect, Gleyber Torres.

“They are going to be sitting there in Game 5 of a National League playoff game and there are going to be runners on base and they’re going to wish that they had paid the extra [price] that the Cubs paid and that the Indians paid to get either Aroldis Chapman or Andrew Miller,” Olney said. “I agree with you that the price on Andrew Miller was extraordinary, but they could have gotten Aroldis Chapman. They were in a much better position than the Cubs were because they had pitching prospects, the Yankees are starved for pitching prospects. If they had put in one of those guys, the Nationals could have had Aroldis Chapman. They held back their ammunition, the Cubs jumped in. I thought the Nationals did a terrible job.”

MLB Trade Deadline: Yankees tear down, Rangers beef up

After the Cubs traded for Chapman, Rizzo said he couldn’t justify giving away that much young talent for a two-month rental. Melancon is an impending free agent, too, but the cost to acquire him — Felipe Rivero and minor leaguer Taylor Hearn — was much lower than what the Cubs and Indians traded away for Chapman and Miller.

“It’s not just about 2016,” Bowden said. “I think as a GM or an owner — and the Nationals are built for the long term, not any singular season — they looked at Giolito and they said, ‘We may have [Max] Scherzer, who’s already a [No. 1 starter], [Stephen] Strasburg, who’s become a one, and we a future one in Giolito, we want to keep that together.’ That’s what they’re thinking. I know it’s a tough balance, but that’s how I view it.”

Thanks to CSN for sharing.