Let’s call it Wednesday

Posted: August 1, 2018 by Sports Time Radio in basketball, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

Yesterday was the end of baseballs non-waiver trade deadline and there where quite a few deals that got done. Now teams can still make trades, but a player has to be put on waiver for any trades to happen.

Baseball has one of the simpler systems to understand. When a player is out on waivers there are a few things that can happen. He can get through waivers unclaimed and then can be dealt to any team. If a player is claimed his team can pull him off of waivers and keep him or they can try to work out a deal with the team that claimed him. There is one more option, but it doesn’t happen to often. If a player is claimed on waivers the team that placed him on waivers can simply let him go to the team that claimed him. The team claiming him would get him with no players exchanging teams, but would be responsible for all the money left on that players contract. The waiver claim order goes from the team with the worst record at the time the players was placed on waivers to the team with the best record being given the last chance to claim any player.

Oddly with all of the deals that ended up being made yesterday I feel that there was more talk about a player that wasn’t traded; that of course being Bryce Harper.

Washington Nationals General Manager came out early in the day on Tuesday and said flat out that Harper wouldn’t be traded, but that didn’t stop everyone from talking about him being traded. I guess they thought that Rizzo was bluffing and he had a Harper deal in the works. In the end Harper stayed with the Nationals and I guess I was the only one surprised that happened.

I understand that the Nationals have had a disappointing season and I believe they’re the most disappointing team in baseball. Even with as bad as Washington has been they’re still a .500 team at 53-53 and are just 5 1/2 games behind the Philadelphia Phillies for 1st place in the National East.

Now I know there are going to be a lot of people out there who will talk about the fact that the Nationals have to pass two teams to get into 1st place and in a lot of cases that can be too big of a mountain for a team to climb, but because of scheduling I don’t think that’s the case this time. The Nationals have 17 more games against the Phillies and the Atlanta Braves who are currently in 2nd place in the National League East. Washington will play Philadelphia 9 times and Atlanta 8. There’s no easier way to make up ground in your division then by beating the teams in front of you.

Of course for the Nationals to make this move they’re going to have to get some things back on track starting with Harper being better than the .223 hitter he’s been so far. They’re also going to need some offensive help from Ryan Zimmerman and it would be an extra plus if they could get any kind of offense at all out of their catching position.

On the plus side Daniel Murphy seems to be finding his swing as he’s hit .474 over his last six games. If Murphy starts to hit that could help Harper see better pitches and just with Murphy’s improvement Harper is hitting .350 over his last six games. The Nationals will also need rookie Juan Soto to continue to play like the way he’s played and Anthony Redon will also need to produce.

Max Scherzer is fine at the top of the Nationals rotation, but after that there are questions starting with Steven Strasburg. Strasburg is currently on the disabled list with a pinched nerve in his neck. He’s expected back in the middle of the month; so he’ll need to contribute to the pitching staff.

Now after the big two it looks as though the Nationals will be going with Gio Gonzalez, Tanner Roark and Jeremy Hellickson to round out their rotation.

Gonzalez is 6-7, but has an ERA of 3.78 in 21 starts. If he can get some run support his record could be better. Roark has been terrible this season. He’s appeared in 22 games making 22 starts. He has a record of 5-12 with a 4.37 ERA. He’ll need to pitch much more like the guy who has a career ERA of 3.55 to help the Nationals get back in the playoff race. Now Hellickson has been a nice surprise for Washington. He was a late signee and has only made 15 starts, but he’s 4-2 with an ERA of 3.59. If Hellickson can just continue to pitch like he’s been he’ll be a big help down the stretch.

Washington did make a trade deadline deal yesterday as the sent reliever Brandon Kintzler to the Chicago Cubs for minor leaguer Jhon Romero.

The Nationals have some questions in the bullpen and it starts with when will closer Sean Doolittle return? Doolittle is on the disabled list with left toe inflammation and while on the disabled list suffered a stress fracture in that foot. It appears he is still weeks away from returning.

With Doolittle out who will the Nationals turn to in closing situations? Ryan Madson has converted 4 of his 6 save chances, but has an ERA of 4.54. Kintzler had 2 saves in 5 chances. Kelvin Herrera is 1 for 1 in save chances since being acquired and you’d think he’d be the guy the Nationals would turn to since he had 14 saves with the Kansas City Royals before being traded to Washington.

Beside who will close games the Nationals are going to have to find pitchers in their bullpen that can get the game to the closer.

Someone in the bullpen is going to have to step up and fill the main set up role. Matt Grace has been good from the left side with a 2.77 ERA and Justin Miller is 6-1 this season. Shawn Kelly has an ERA of 3.34; so this combination will have to continue to hold leads for whoever ends up closing games for the Nationals.

Have you given up on the Nationals? Or do you think they still have a chance?

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live in BlogTalkRadio.com, but don’t forget that you can listen to the podcast ay time you want at TuneIn.com.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @Burketime



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