"Even Washington is under pressure to win as many games as they can. I feel for Mike Rizzo [the acting GM], because everybody in the media wants him to dump major league players, and he's in a position where if he trades Nick Johnson and Adam Dunn, he might be looking at a 42- to 45-win season. That's hard to live down, no matter how you get there. It's hard to give up."
Now look, no one likes to lose. Losing sucks. The 2009 Nationals have made losing an art form. With 60 games left in the season, the Nationals have zero chance at making the playoffs and almost zero chance of salvaging their season. The season has been a disaster, plain and simple.
The Nationals sole focus for the rest of the season should be on finding pieces for 2010 and beyond. Forget about 2009. The season is a wash as is. In the end, almost no one will remember whether or not the Nationals win 42 or 48 games in 2009. What people will remember is that the 2009 Nationals sucked and that baseball in Washington has failed in so many ways.
(Note: Obviously, the Nationals need to avoid losing 120+ games. People WILL remember if the Nationals set a record. They have 30 wins right now, so I would say that the odds of the Nats winning less than 10 games down the stretch is not high.)
Nationals fans need hope that better days are coming. They need to believe that the horror days of Jim Bowden are over. Maybe, just maybe, the Nationals can play quality baseball in the future and actually fill up the new stadium that DC fought so hard to get.
And that's where the trade deadline comes in. The idea is simple: the Nationals need to trade whatever movable veteran pieces they have and in return, get back as many potentially useful pieces as possible. If the Nationals refuse to make a trade because they want to prevent losing a certain number of games, then Mike Rizzo should not be the GM. The focus for the Nationals HAS TO BE THE FUTURE. If the move can potentially benefit the Nationals future, then Rizzo should pull the trigger.
And finally, I don't think Mike Rizzo would have a tough time in the future if the Nationals lose 115+ games. Baseball people will remember this club as the final disaster of the Jim Bowden era and Rizzo cannot and should not be judged on his performance until the end of next season at the earliest.