Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Where the Nats stand after the deadline

Another trade deadline has passed, and the Nats once again are rather uneventful while occupying last place. The buzz following the team was centered around closer Drew Storen, who was reportedly being shopped for center fielder Denard Span. I, for one, am not the biggest fan of Drew Storen. He leaves his pitches up in the zone too often, especially his hanging slider. I have always thought Clippard was better suited to be the closer, and that should have made Storen available to other clubs.

The rumored trade for Span made sense. The Nats need a center fielder and a leadoff hitter, and they could have gotten both in one deal. Since coming to the nation's capital in '05, the Nats have not had a reliable leadoff hitter. Bernadina is the closest thing they have had to a legitimate leadoff hitter, but his inconsistency at the plate is concerning. Span, a career .289 hitter who plays above average defense, could have been a staple for the Nats future. The reason the deal didn't go through is because GM Mike Rizzo overvalues Storen. He has a better closer in Clippard, who flat out has better stuff.

The Nats could have been both buyers and sellers at the deadline, which makes sense for a last place team on the rise. I still am a firm believer that this team could be very good in 2-3 years. The only problem with that is Nats fans are sick of hearing about the future. The deal for Span would have immediately helped the team, and Rizzo's unwillingness to trade Storen really hurt them.

Sure, there is always next year's deadline, when the Nats will most likely be in the cellar of the N.L. East again.