Here’s the conundrum for the Nationals on the trade front: they are not going to trade any of their young, top-tier pitching prospects. Other teams will want these prospects. Hence, a stalemate follows.
The Nationals will not be distributing Jackson Rutledge or Cade Cavalli for one year of another player. To see those names attached to any discussion around Kris Bryant is borderline silly. Should the Cubs ask for one of those pitchers in the opening of discussions? Of course. Why not? The Marlins once asked for Victor Robles and Juan Soto for J.T. Realmuto. It’s the shoot-your-shot aspect of negotiations. Then reality begins to join the discourse.
After a 2020 flop, the Nationals are simultaneously in win-now and rebuild-now mode. Their 40-man roster remains at just 34. They will be busy signing players — should the league ever shift into that mode — this winter. At the same time, they need their farm system to hold in order to increase its depth.
Which means, at the least, Cavalli and Rutledge are going nowhere. Other young, intriguing members of the 40-man roster — like Luis García and Yasel Antuna — are in a highly unlikely position to be moved. This is not a climate where the Nationals are seeking to fill a single void. Instead, they have a bevy of issues to address and little in-house capital at their disposal.
The so-called “untouchables” of the past included more prominent players.…