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Positioned neither as a strong contender seeking a big boost to get over the hump nor as an also-ran seeking to dump veterans, the Nationals don't expect to do anything bold before the 4 p.m. deadline arrives.
As much as their lineup has underperformed, the Nationals don't have an obvious hole to fill. All eight regulars are under team control for another year, all but Adam LaRoche under control through at least 2015. And those eight players, taken collectively, have been more productive than you might have guessed: They've combined to hit .272 with a .338 on-base percentage and .448 slugging percentage.
As much as the back of their rotation has struggled, general manager Mike Rizzo doesn't appear too keen on giving up significant prospects for another veteran starter like Jake Peavy (who, interestingly enough, has been scratched from his scheduled start tonight for the White Sox). The recent strong performances of Dan Haren, Ross Ohlendorf and Taylor Jordan also leave Rizzo feeling confident enough about the state of his rotation through the remainder of the season.
The bullpen has stabilized, with Tyler Clippard enjoying a fantastic season and setting up closer Rafael Soriano, Ian Krol and Fernando Abad establishing themselves as reliable left-handed specialists and Ryan Mattheus and Craig Stammen capable middle/long men.
Which leaves only one remaining area of the roster that could be upgraded in the next 28 hours: the bench.
The Nationals' stable of reserves, thought to be a true strength on Opening Day, has proven to be one of baseball's least-productive units over the last four months. Combine the stats of all Nats position players who aren't among the current starting eight, and you get a .194 batting average, .238 on-base percentage and .288 slugging percentage.
Rizzo already took one step to address that major issue earlier this month when he acquired veteran outfielder Scott Hairston from the Cubs. He could look to continue to address that area with the addition of another veteran left-handed bat, one that would replace Roger Bernadina, Chad Tracy or Steve Lombardozzi.
The best available fit on the market right now would be another Cubs outfielder, Nate Schierholtz, who is enjoying a career year at 29 with 14 homers and an .857 OPS. Schierholtz, though, might actually have bumped his price up too high with his surprising production, perhaps convincing another team he's worth acquiring as an everyday player.
There aren't many other left-handed options beyond Schierholtz, unless Rizzo wants to overpay for aging bats like Raul Ibanez and Juan Pierre.
All of which leaves the Nationals potentially standing pat and watching while the rest of the baseball world approaches the trade deadline with fervor.