Best, worst deadline deals in Nats history

By Bill Ladson

WASHINGTON – It’s too early to tell if the Nationals made a great move by acquiring closer Mark Melancon before non-waiver Trade Deadline.

However, the Nationals made their share of deadline deals dating back to their first year in 2005. Here are three of their best and worst deadline deals since their first year of existence.

THE BEST

July 30, 2010: The Nationals send SS Cristian Guzman to the Rangers for RHP Ryan Tatusko and Tanner Roark.

The results: The Rangers wanted Guzman for the pennant stretch, but he wasn’t productive and was left off the playoffs roster. Tatusko never reached the big leagues. The last time he played professional baseball was in 2014 for the Hanwha Eagles of the Korean Baseball Organization. But Roark turned out to be a gem for Washington. He was one of Washington’s top starters in 2014, winning 15 games with a 2.85 ERA. Two years later, manager Dusty Baker often calls Roark a horse for going deep in games. Entering Monday’s action, Roark was fourth in the National League in innings pitched [136.2] and is second on the team in victories with 10.

June 28th, 2009: The Nationals send OF Ryan Langerhans to the Mariners for OF/INF Michael Morse.

The results: Both players were underachieving, so a change of scenery was needed. Langerhans didn’t do much with the Mariners, hitting .200 in two-plus seasons.  Morse, on the other hand, was productive during his three-plus years with Washington. First he became a productive hitter off the bench and then became the team’s MVP by hitting .303 with 31 home runs and 95 RBIs in 2011. The next year, he helped the Nationals win their first-ever division title.

June 30, 2009:  The Nationals send Lastings Milledge and reliever Joel Hanrahan to the Pirates for reliever Sean Burnett and Nyjer Morgan.

The results:  You could almost call this deal even. Milledge was too inconsistent offensively and a below average center fielder, while Hanrahan had problems getting people out before he was dealt.  To Hanrahan’s credit, he became an All-Star twice in Pittsburgh before going down with Tommy John surgery. Sean Burnett became a quality reliever for Washington in three-plus years and helped the Nationals win their first-ever division title in ’12. Morgan had a nice two months with the Nationals before breaking his thumb sliding into third base against the Cubs. He was gone a year later as general manager Mike Rizzo traded him to the Brewers for Cutter Dykstra

 THE WORST

July 13, 2006: The Nationals traded SS Royce Clayton, Ps Bill Bray, Gary Majewski and Daryl Thompson to the Reds for INF Felipe Lopez, OF Austin Kearns and RHP Ryan Wagner.

The results: Of the seven players traded, only Bray produced. He became a solid lefty specialist for the Reds.  Kearns was supposed to be the most important player in the deal, but he was often injured. When he was on the field, Kearns had a tough time hitting the baseball. In three-plus years in Washington, Kearns hit .242 with 34 home runs and 159 RBIs.

July 30, 2011: The Nationals trade Jerry Hairston Jr. to the Milwaukee Brewers for outfielder Erik Komatsu.

The results:  Hairston was having a solid season off the bench for Washington before he helped the Brewers win their first division title since 1982. In 11 postseason games for Milwaukee, Hairston hit .385 with four RBIs. Komatsu never was given a chance to show what he could do with the Nationals. He was plucked by the Cardinals in the 2011 Rule 5 Draft. By May of 2012, he was sent back with the Nationals before he was released by the club two years later. He last played professional baseball for the Long Island Ducks of the Independent League.

July 31, 2014: The Nationals trade infielder Zach Walters to the Indians for infielder Asdrubal Cabrera.

The results: Walters became a walking vagabond around the league. He is already with his fourth club [Dodgers] since 2010. Cabrera was supposed to help the Nationals offensively and be a spark plug at second base. Cabrera was a disappointment with the bat and looked like he lost his range at second base. He became a free agent after ’14 and signed with the Rays.

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