Will the Nats get back into serious playoff contention?

Josh Luckenbaugh
June 10, 2019 - 10:21 am

They're red-hot, winners of 11 of their last 15. But even still, the clock is ticking on the Washington Nationals' playoff hopes. 

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After their remarkable win over the Padres Sunday which saw them hit back-to-back-to-back-to-back home runs, the Nats are seven games back in the NL East and six in the wild card standings. Not out of the playoff race by any stretch, but too far back to consider serious contenders at the moment. 

"You can figure out a scenario where they could make the playoffs," Eddie Matz told The Sports Junkies Monday. "Right now, I think FanGraphs has the Nationals at 40 percent to make the playoffs."

"Now, Baseball Prospectus has them at 19 percent today, so if you average those you get like 30 percent. Yeah, not quite a coin flip."

The Nats' current in-between status in the playoff race also complicates their position in the trade market, particularly if teams come calling for the likes of Anthony Rendon and Sean Doolittle

"Now, it's a lot more tricky," Matz said of Rendon. "We're already almost in mid-June, they're six out in the wild card. If they remain six or less out of the wild card, how do you justify trading (Rendon)?"

"I suppose if it's July 30 and you're six out, perhaps is that a different conversation? I don't know. That's not 10 out, that's not 12 out, and crazy things can happen. So I think for now, you got to hold tight on him."

"But you definitely have to have your mind open to trading him, because he rakes and he's great on defense, and you can certainly get a lot for him. And then if you can sign him back in the offseason, everybody wins."

"If the end of July comes and they're out of it, and you know that Doolittle's not gonna help you this year — he doesn't have the two years left on his deal like (Max) Scherzer does — so why not?" Matz continued. 

"If you can get something back for him that helps you in the future, why not? Or maybe one prospect and one major league bullpen arm or something like that, you'd have to consider it."

"People around Washington would hate to see that because, on top of being a really solid pitcher, he's an exceedingly decent human being. You'd hate to see him go ... but certainly, you would consider that one."

The Nats still have 97 games left. But these big questions could have answers within the next month or two. 

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