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Looking ahead to September call-ups

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Looking ahead to September call-ups

There are still about two weeks until MLB rosters expand from 25 to 40 players, but during that time Nationals brass will be looking at their minor league teams to see who they want for a September showcase. Some may be brought up to play key, specialized roles for the seasons final month. Some may be called upon to potentially stay on board for the playoffs. And some may simply be called up to gain MLB experience for the future or a possible trade.

Last season the Nats brought up a few familiar names including Steve Lombardozzi who is now a key member of the 2012 club. They also pulled up pitchers Brad Peacock and Tom Milone who, after showing they belonged in the big leagues, were shipped to Oakland for All-Star Gio Gonzalez.

This year the Nats find themselves in a much different position with the best record in the league and likely cant afford handing out starts to minor league pitchers. They may, however, utilize several guys in very specific roles to help boost their team and rest some of their players during the home stretch.

Rosters can be expanded on September 1st, but the Nats' Triple-A affiliate Syracuse Chiefs play until September 3rd so they may not be brought up until then.

Here are some players the Nats may call up:

Position Players

OF Corey Brown

Brown has made two stints with the big league club this season, a three-game visit in May and a six-game spot in July. He was sent back down in lieu of Chad Tracy who returned from injury two games after Brown hit his first major league home run. Brown has power, can play the outfield, and can also help on the basepaths with 16 stolen bases in 107 games with Syracuse.

OF Eury Perez

Perez can help the Nationals defensively as a speedy outfielder, but if he is brought up it will most likely be for his base running. Perez has 43 stolen bases this year in 112 total minor league games this season and has adjusted well to Triple-A pitchers with a .330 average in 25 games.

IF Chris Marrero

Marrero may be called up only because he was with the team last September and proved he can hang at the big league level. He has worked his way back from injury this season and is still finding his swing with Syracuse. The Nats, however, already have Tyler Moore and Mark DeRosa who can do everything Marrero can do at this point and more.

Pitchers

LHP John Lannan

This one you can count on, Lannan will be brought up in September to take the rotation spot of Stephen Strasburg and assume the role of the teams fifth starter. He has been stashed at Syracuse all season, but was brought up twice since the All-Star break and earned the win in both outings. Lannan has pitched better at the MLB level this season than he has at Triple-A and the Nats expect him to jump right in and help continue their quest for a division title.

RHP Christian Garcia

MLB.com reported that Garcia will likely be called up in September as the 26-year-old reliever has been dominant for Syracuse. In 20 appearances with the Chiefs he has a 0.36 ERA and has held opponents to a .107 batting average. He hasnt allowed a run since June and has 33 strikeouts in 25.1 innings. Garcia is expected to see some action in September and there is a slim, outside chance he could stay on for October. If an injury happens to their bullpen or if Drew Storen continues to struggle, a spot could open up.

LHP Zach Duke

Duke is an MLB veteran of seven seasons and has sort of revitalized his career in the minor leagues this year. With Syracuse he is 13-5 with a 3.57 ERA in 23 games, not unbelievable numbers but they suggest he deserves another chance at the highest level. When Strasburg is shut down, he could be the next man up as far as starting pitchers in the event of an injury. Even if the Nats were to call on Tom Gorzelanny in that case, Duke could be the emergency fall back for a left-handed long relief man.

RHP Yunesky Maya

Maya was a September call-up last season, but his chances of being brought up this year are slim. Still, no one has pitched better for Syracuse this season as Maya leads the Chiefs rotation with a 3.52 ERA. He has a 1.11 WHIP through 145.2 innings and is 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA in the month of August. Nats fans have seen a lot of Maya before and know his tendency to fade in the middle of games, but if you are looking at Syracuses rotation he sure stands out.

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Nationals deal top prospects Giolito, Lopez and Dunning to White Sox for Adam Eaton

Nationals deal top prospects Giolito, Lopez and Dunning to White Sox for Adam Eaton

The Washington Nationals were unable to trade the farm to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for former Cy Young winner Chris Sale. But still looking to make a splash, the Nationals went back to the White Sox, and have made a deal.

Multiple sources have confirmed that the Nationals will trade Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and 2016 first-round pick Dane Dunning to the White Sox for outfielder Adam Eaton, pending physicals.

Eaton, 28 years old, will be entering his sixth season, having played two seasons with the Diamondbacks and two season with the White Sox.

Eaton has never made an All-Star team, but has a solid OBP of .357 and has back-to-back seasons of 14 home runs and at least 50 RBIs. He also has a very friendly contract, having recently signed a five-year, $23.5 million contract.

In return, the White Sox get a treasure trove of prospects.

Giolito is the top prospect in the Nationals' organization and one of the top prospects in all of MLB. He appeared in six games for the nationals in 2016, finishing with a 6.75 ERA and 11 strikeouts. Lopez, the No. 4 prospect in the organization, appeared in 11 games in 2016, finishing with a 4.91 ERA and 42 strikeouts.

Dunning, one of the ace of the Florida Gators' staff, was selected by the Nationals with the 29th pick of the 2016 MLB Draft.

But considering the Nationals were willing to give up numerous top prospects for Chris Sale or Andrew McCutchen, it's puzzling that the Nationals would receive just Eaton in return.

Heading into the 2016 winter meetings, it was well known that the Nationals were interested in making a big splash and shaking things up.

It looks like they're doing just that.

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Nationals were willing to give up the farm for Chris Sale

Nationals were willing to give up the farm for Chris Sale

By Jason Dobkin

The Nationals were ready to give up a host of top prospects to get Chris Sale from the White Sox.

They weren't able to nab the ace — Chicago decided to trade Sale to the Red Sox for a group of prospects headlined by second baseman Yoan Moncada — but it wasn't for lack of a competitive offer.

The Nats were deep in talks with the White Sox on Monday night, offering up two of their top prospects in right-handed pitcher Lucas Giolito and outfielder Victor Robles. They were also reportedly willing to let go of another top pitching prospect, Reynaldo Lopez, who originally wasn't on the table.

Giolito and Robles are two of the best prospects in baseball, and Lopez isn't far behind. Moncada, though, is considered possibly the No. 1 prospect. In addition to Moncada, the Red Sox also gave up stud pitching prospect Michael Kopech.

RELATED: Should the Nationals pursue Andrew McCutchen?

The Nats could have possibly gotten a deal done involving Trea Turner, but they weren't willing to budge on him.

The Nationals' missing on Sale comes not long after they also missed out on pitcher Mark Melancon, who signed with the Giants.

Considering how much Washington was willing to part with to get Sale, losing out on him probably hurts.

MORE: Two ways to look at the Nationals' missing out on Chris Sale