Yesterday the A’s swapped shortstop Yunel Escobar to the Nationals for reliever Tyler Clippard, and in doing so completed the ninth trade between general managers Billy Beane and Mike Rizzo since December of 2010.
Or, put another way: Oakland and Washington have made an average of one trade every five months for the past four years.
Some of them have been minor deals and they actually swapped catcher Kurt Suzuki back and forth twice, but in addition to this significant Escobar-Clippard trade they also had big ones involving Josh Willingham, Gio Gonzalez, and Derek Norris, plus a three-team trade with the Mariners that had Michael Morse and John Jaso in it.
Baseball-Reference.com has the full trading history between the two teams, because Baseball-Reference.com has everything always.
Beane is perceived as pretty new-school, Rizzo is perceived as pretty old-school, and they love making trades together.
Reports of the Cubs trying to acquire Jordan Zimmermann from the Nationals last week were mostly shot down, but now Bob Nightingale of USA Today writes that Washington is indeed “informing teams that Zimmermann is available” in trade.
Zimmermann has just one season remaining until he’s eligible for free agency and the 28-year-old right-hander is in line for a massive payday, so shopping him makes some sense considering the Nationals still have Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Doug Fister, and Tanner Roark in the rotation.
Oh, and here’s a potential added wrinkle: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com wrote this morning that the Nationals are one of five teams he thinks will make a serious run at Max Scherzer. Would they trade Zimmermann and then spend huge money while also losing a draft pick to bring in a different ace?
Maybe it’s still too soon to take solace, but the Nationals have more answers than questions headed into the winter.
Ex-closer Rafael Soriano excepted, the entire pitching staff is due back next year, including the NL-best rotation of Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister, Gio Gonzalez and Tanner Roark. The team might want to talk extension with Zimmermann and Fister, both of whom are free agents after next season, but they won’t have to go starter shopping. Soriano almost certainly will be allowed to walk and Ross Detwiler could also be traded or set free, but the Nationals will still be in good hands in the pen with Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard, Aaron Barrett and company.
It was the Nationals’ lineup that was the problem during the NLDS, but at least the team’s two most important players going forward — Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon — were the two who shined versus the Giants. The Nationals will probably say goodbye to Adam LaRoche, even though he was such an important part of this year’s lineup. Ryan Zimmerman needs to be a full-time first baseman because of his shoulder problems.
That leaves the only question mark as second base. One imagines the Nationals will try to re-sign Asdrubal Cabrera, who is a better option than any others out there in free agency. A trade is also a possibility. The Rays would probably be open to discussing Ben Zobrist, and the Nationals have some intriguing outfielders and hard-throwing right-hander Blake Treinan to use in talks.
But it should really be a rather quiet offseason for the Nationals overall. They’ll enter next spring as the favorites to win the NL East and probably as the favorites to represent the NL in the World Series, though we all know how well that can work out.