'Clock is ticking' on Nats to decide if they're buyers or sellers

Josh Luckenbaugh
June 18, 2019 - 11:00 am

Rain postponed the start of the Nationals' series against the Phillies to Tuesday, which will kick off a massive seven-game stretch at home that includes four games against Philadelphia then three more versus the NL East-leading Braves.

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And however this homestand goes, Washington will have some big decisions to make over the next few weeks with the July 31 trade deadline looming. 

"These two series decide a lot," Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post told The Sports Junkies Tuesday. "I don't think it totally decides if you're a buyer or seller, but I do think that it's gonna show what this team is."

"If you go 1-6 in the next seven games — which I don't think the Nationals will — but if you do, then you're in a huge hole. You're already 8.5 (games) back in mid-June, which is not great, but I think if you bury yourself even further, then you only have what, like a month before you decide, and even sooner than that."

"You can't decide on July 24 that you're a seller," Dougherty continued. "You have to decide on July 10 that you're a seller, and start to actually work the phones and get going. So I would say it's not even a six-week window. It's even smaller than that."

"Those deals don't always come together so quick, and I think you need to gauge the field and see who's buying and who's selling on other teams, and where you can potentially send a guy."

The Nationals' most widely-discussed trade chip has been Anthony Rendon, who is having a stellar 2019 campaign in the final year of his current contract.

There's been little noise recently about getting an extension done with Rendon, and after seeing Bryce Harper leave as a free agent last offseason, Dougherty says the Nats may be more willing to field offers for their star player this time around. 

"I think the Nats did learn their lesson last year with Bryce Harper and not getting a prospect package back from Houston when they had the chance," Dougherty told the Junkies. "And then having to go out in free agency and then try and sign him, and him not coming back and being left completely empty-handed."

"I'd say they don't want to repeat that process with Anthony, so I think that's gonna ratchet up now ... I think the questions for that are gonna start to pick up, just because the clock is ticking."

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