Washington Nationals: Buyers
Why: The Nationals are 48-32 and currently lead the NL East. They might play in one of the toughest divisions in baseball, but their +60 run differential is good for second best in the NL.
Who they need: The Nationals hitting has been the biggest problem this season, but most of their players are starting to get healthy. Michael Morse returned in June, and is starting to look like he did last season. After starting the season slowly, Ryan Zimmerman is on a tear right now. Jayson Werth is expected back in August, and should help the team’s offense.
The Nationals could use an upgrade at catcher, where they lost Wilson Ramos for the season. Jesus Flores has hit just .240/.279/.365.
The rotation has been the team’s strength, but there are rumors that they could look for a low-level starter to keep them afloat once Stephen Strasburg gets shut down for the season.
With Drew Storen returning soon, the bullpen should be in decent shape. It’s not a big position of need, but the Nats could consider adding a reliever at the deadline.
Who they can deal: After dealing for Gio Gonzalez this off-season, the Nationals have emptied out their farm system. Most of the team’s top prospects are a couple years away from the big leagues.
While Adam LaRoche was thought to be a trade candidate coming into the season, he’s been one of the team’s best hitters, and is unlikely to be dealt.
The team may also look for bullpen help, but probably wouldn’t give up anything significant for a top-tier reliever.
Verdict: The Nationals are in good shape. They can make some small improvements, but don’t have many pieces to trade away. That’s fine, since they should be able to stay in contention with the players currently on their roster.