Should the Nats trade from surplus?

Should the Nats trade from surplus?
October 20, 2011, 1:58 pm
Share This Post

We've talked a lot already this offseason about what positions the Nationals need to improve to get themselves closer to contention in 2012. This morning, let's turn the tables a bit and talk about positions where they might actually find themselves overstocked.

Mike Rizzo has often explained the two byproducts of building up a deep farm system: 1) To supply your big-league roster with talented, young players, and 2) To give yourself some trade chips to go out and acquire something else you need.

Perhaps for the first time since they arrived in town, the Nationals find themselves in a situation where they could move some young players from a position of depth in order to address another position of need.

This especially appears to be true in the pitching department. In addition to their two young studs -- Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann -- the Nats also have a potential surplus of starters age 27 or younger: John Lannan, Ross Detwiler, Brad Peacock and Tommy Milone (to name a few).

The same holds true in the bullpen, where Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard are supplemented by Henry Rodriguez, Ryan Mattheus, Cole Kimball (who is returning from shoulder surgery), Craig Stammen and Collin Balester. There are enough power right-handers in the fold already that Rizzo was willing to send Rule 5 pick Elvin Ramirez (who has returned from his own shoulder surgery and was throwing in the high 90s in the Florida instructional league) back to the Mets this week.

Some might also argue the Nationals could trade away one of their three young middle infielders (Danny Espinosa, Ian Desmond, Steve Lombardozzi) or one of their catching prospects (Jesus Flores, Derek Norris) in order to land the leadoff hitter or No. 3 starter they covet.

So, there's no question the organization has built up enough talent and depth to pull off a deal like that. But the question is whether they should pull off a deal like that.

What do you think? Would the Nationals be wise to use those trade chips now in an attempt to land a veteran who could help the team immediately, or would they be better off hanging on to all these guys and waiting to see which ones develop into big-league contributors?