The MLB Trade Deadline hits on August 1 at 6:00 p.m. E.T. but the Washington Nationals were not waiting for time to expire to begin moving pieces around in what is clearly a lost 2023 season.
29-year old infielder Jeimer Candelario was traded to the Chicago Cubs on Monday, along with cash considerations.
In 99 games, Candelario batted .258 for Washington with 16 home runs, 53 RBI’s and a team-best .342 on-base-percentage.
“Obviously, it’s that time of year,” said Nationals Manager Dave Martinez.
The Nats currently hold a 45-62 record, sit in last place in the NL East and are 23.5 games behind the league-leading Atlanta Braves.
Around the trade deadline, there are contenders who will buy players and push for a championship, and there are sellers, who are out of contention and will trade productive players for prospects in the hope of a brighter future.
In the trade with Chicago, the Nationals acquired Pitcher DJ Herz and Infielder Kevin Made.
DJ Herz, a 22-year old left-handed pitcher that was drafted by the Cubs in eighth round of the 2019 MLB Draft, has spent 2023 with Chicago’s Double-A affiliate in Harrisburg, PA. His current ERA stands at 3.97 with 80 strikeouts and 14 saves. He could be the Nationals closer somewhere down the line, or at the very least, a reliable arm out of the bullpen.
Kevin Made is a 20-year old shortstop out of the Dominican Republic who has been with Chicago’s High-A affiliate, the Wilmington Blue Rocks. In 2023, he’s batting .240 with 25 RBI’s and 3 home runs.
The Nationals currently have the second-worst record in the national league and fifth-worst across all of baseball, making them textbook sellers at the trade deadline.
It’s early in the second half of the season, but Washington is 9-8 since the All Star Break. If they can keep some momentum and maybe add another piece or two either before the trade deadline or in the offseason they could be a contender for a surprise team in 2024.