As I start to type, it's 11:30 am, four and a half hours away from the Major League non-waiver trade deadline. The Washington Nationals have already made three trades this week, acquiring Jonny Gomes and dealing Jerry Hairston and Jason Marquis for prospects.
They are still involved, obviously, in other talks, most notably with the Minnesota Twins on a deal that could include Nats closer Drew Storen and Twins center fielder Denard Span, currently rehabbing in Triple-A after suffering from post-concussion symptoms. Rumors are also still circulating around Tampa Bay's center fielder B.J. Upton. The Nats seem to be activated for a deal today one way or the other, and national media sources describe Nats GM Mike Rizzo to be on a quest to finally fill the Nats center field hole, something that's plagued this organization since its move in 2005.
The trade deadline isn't easy for anybody. Not for the executives, players or fans. It's tough to see players you've become fond of for whatever reason ripped from your team. It's also tough to place blind trust in the team's front office with no control over the situation. I guess that's one of the reasons fantasy sports is so popular -- you are your own GM.
But this isn't fantasy, it's real life. GMs of major league baseball teams are executives of multi-million dollar companies. Decisions they make can affect a franchise for years, and could ultimately cost them their jobs.
Both Storen and Span are fan-favorites in their respective markets. Both players are affable, accessible and very talented young, cost-controlled players. They are assets to their teams and communities. And both fan bases are up in arms about their being included in trade talks. Crowd-sourcing on Twitter last night and this morning shows that neither fan base wants any part of this deal. Must mean it's a fair deal.
Anyway, in a little over four hours we'll know what this team will be going forward. Fans will have to trust that Mike Rizzo is doing the right thing for this team, both for the short and long-term. They really have no other choice. But let's hope that in this case, Rizzo isn't getting caught up in his quest for a center fielder and leadoff hitter and making a deal today just to make a deal. It's a position of need for this club, no doubt. But in order to make a deal of this magnitude, he's got to be certain of the return.
I'm not against the idea of trading a young, cost-certain closer to address a position of need. But it has to be for the right player.