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Yankees potential trade partner: Washington Nationals

Oy vey, what a roster.

Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves Photo by Brett Davis/Getty Images

The Yankees should trade for Juan Soto.

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Alright, alright, I suppose I should go deeper on this than just six words. The Nationals are not trading Juan Soto at the deadline, they’re probably not going to trade him at all but certainly not in the end of July. Yes, he’s a corner outfielder who hits lefty and walks more than he strikes out. He ain’t coming to New York just yet.

So what else does the NL East’s worst club have to offer? I’m going to be honest, it’s a pretty bleak roster. The Yankees can probably stand to add one more bat, preferably a lefty, as well as one more arm — I think the ideal would be a swingman type that can give some spot starts, but add depth to the bullpen at the same time.

The Nats have just four hitters performing at a better than league average rate. Yadiel Hernandez is a lefty hitting, corner outfielder, but at 34 with a 104 wRC+, I’d just as soon target one of the other options around the league that offer a little more of an offensive boost. Josh Bell is having a strong season, and seems to have become a much more complete hitter since being traded from the Pirates, AND he’s a pending free agent, but he can only play first base and with three different guys rotating through the position right now, there’s no fit.

Pitching wise, I guess Carl Edwards Jr. could be a depth pickup? He walks too many batters right now, but with an underutilized cutter, you wonder if the Yankees could improve the shape and usage of the cutter similar to what they’ve done with other relievers, and cure some of the base on balls issues.

The rest of the bullpen is a mess, with multiple guys on the IL and everyone else just being plain ol’ bad. Tanner Rainey, the nominal closer, is having a strong season albeit one with the same walk problems that Edwards Jr. is dealing with. With three years of team control left, he would make an even better project than Carl, but relievers going to contenders with multiple kicks at the can become correspondingly more expensive, and I just don’t see the Yankees shelling out high prices for relievers right now.

The Nationals are in a tough position. They should be sellers — they have a terrible farm system and any building around Soto is going to require young talent under cheap control — but the pieces they would use to build up a farm system just aren’t worth that much on the market. Perhaps what is going to end up dooming this rebuild was waiting until you were bad to sell off, unlike what the Athletics did, for instance, selling off with the expectation you would be bad, but not quite being bad just yet.

I’d be very surprised if any significant deal was made between the Yankees and Nationals. The biggest trade pieces Washington can offer are probably position players who are just incongruent with what the Yankees need right now. Unless Mike Rizzo has an out of body experience, the Juan Soto dream will stay that way for some time, and New York’s likely better off shopping elsewhere.