After a week of vacation, I have returned to find the Nats in a similar situation as when I’d left. They’re still in last place, and haven’t yet hammered out any trades. It looks the Rizzo and company are hell bent on keeping Dunn and Willingham, which brings mixed emotions. Re-signing Dunn wouldn’t upset me, they don’t have many other options at first and I think he’s one of the best hitters in the NL. Not bad holding on to someone you can apply that label to. Willingham, on the other hand, is more than likely gone after next year. But the gaping hole he’d leave in the lineup probably scares the team a bit. Who knows what they’ve been offered for these guys, but fear of losing games shouldn’t prohibit any trades – the team is losing games anyway.

As for the other piece of trade bait, Cristian Guzman, he’s stayed put. There has been no talk from Rizzo of holding on to him, yet there hasn’t been much talk of trading him or Adam Kennedy. Fox Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi reported there were “inquiries.. but little progress toward deals.” Ok, let’s get em moving. It probably doesn’t help that Guzman’s hit .248/.331/.308 since June 1. When I said back then that they’d better trade him before he gets into a typical Guzman slump, I fully expected to write that previous sentence around this time. Except for the high OBP – it’s amazing but he’s actually walked twice in a game two times in the last week and a half. The last time he walked twice in a game before that was April 18, 2008. Anyway, as his bat disappeared, his value probably does too. Still there are a bunch of teams out there that could use some middle infielders – TB, Boston, Detroit, the White Sox, the Mets, San Diego… here’s a more complete list.

Of course, there’s another tradable commodity named Livan Hernandez. Don’t know that they’d get much for him. Despite his 6-5 record and 3.37 ERA, he’s been pitching poorly for a while. In his last 6 starts he’s racked up a 5.59 ERA. But he’s had 2 quality starts in that time, so there may still be a market for the Cuban born vet.

As you may have noticed, the topic has been trades, or lack thereof, because that’s what should be on the mind of the Nats. Sitting at 39-50 is usually a good indicator that the season’s close to being over, and without a prodigious July run, the deadline will also be the time when the season will move on to 2011 tryouts. Hopefully, they can swing a deal to get someone that will be part of those.

By Charlie