Trio of Nationals clear revocable waivers, opening trade door

Chris Lingebach
August 23, 2018 - 8:17 pm
Ryan_Zimmerman_Walk_Off

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Mike Rizzo said the Nationals weren't done putting players on waivers. On Thursday, we learned, at some point in the past few days, that Ryan Zimmerman, Matt Wieters and Gio Gonzalez all cleared revocable trade waivers unclaimed, and Mark Reynolds, claimed by the Braves, was pulled back.

Wieters and Gonzalez can now be traded to any team.

Since Zimmerman has 10-and-5 rights – as a player who's accrued 10 years of Major League service time and spent the past five consecutive years with the same team – he can veto any trade scenario proposed. You saw this when Orioles' center fielder Adam Jones nixed a trade to the Phillies earlier this summer.

Wieters and Gonzalez both have expiring contracts, though Wieters seems the less appealing trade target. Gonzalez, 7-10 with a 4.51 ERA on the season, could provide a contending team with rotational depth down the stretch.

Zimmerman is the most alluring trade prospect, a 14-year veteran who's hit 12 home runs in just 56 games this season, and is coming off the best season of his career in 2017. He also seems the unlikeliest to be traded, given his veto power and his place in Nationals history. How ready is Washington to tell Zimmerman they have an offer for him they're willing to accept but need his blessing? Could make for an awkward situation should he say no, considering he's a cornerstone player in the organization with two more years remaining on his contract. 

It's understandable why the Nats wouldn't want Reynolds going to the Braves, their first-place division rival. What we don't know is how serious Atlanta's interest in Reynolds was.

Waiver priority goes in order of reverse standings (worst to best record), in that player's own league (in this case, the NL), followed by reverse standings in the NL. So it's quite possible Atlanta put a claim in on Reynolds just to block the Cubs, the only NL team with a better record, from getting any stronger. Or any AL contenders for that matter. They would deploy this strategy by claiming Reynolds, and then not engaging in any meaningful trade discussions with the Nationals.

For Nats fans hoping not to see another beloved player walk out the door, you're looking at about an eight-day window here. While teams can still acquire players after Aug. 31, any new acquisitions from Sept. 1 through the end of the regular season are ineligible for the postseason, reducing the incentive for buyers.

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