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The Nationals want to trade for Chris Sale and Andrew McCutchen

Monday’s Say Hey, Baseball includes the Nationals’ trade desires and the start of the Winter Meetings.

Kansas City Royals v Chicago White Sox Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images

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The Nationals are tired of losing in the postseason. The Nationals also know that there is a good chance they only have two seasons of Bryce Harper left, which, if he’s healthy and hitting like the 2015 version of himself instead of the supposedly injured-but-playing 2016 iteration, is a real concern. So, we shouldn’t be surprised to hear that they are once again planning on being aggressive, with a four-year contract offer out for closer Mark Melancon at the same time Washington is trying to trade for both of Andrew McCutchen and Chris Sale.

Bob Nightengale reported that the Nationals believe they have the prospects to acquire both, and that’s their plan. That being said, they reportedly don’t want to include Trea Turner in a deal for Sale, and won’t include Victor Robles in a McCutchen swap, but this is Mike Rizzo we’re talking about: we can probably cut him a little slack here and see if he can once again work his magic. After all, this is the executive who convinced the Rays to take on Steven Souza in the Wil Myers trade, earning the Nationals Turner out of nowhere in the first place.

McCutchen might not be the player he was at his MVP peak, but the Nats were so desperate for production out of three outfield spots in 2016 that they ended up converting Turner, a shortstop, to center. Turner can move to short in 2017, though, given Danny Espinoza’s rough year, so long as Washington can fill their outfield holes. As disappointing as Cutch’s 2016 was, he would have been the second-best hitter in the Nats’ outfield last summer.

Similarly, Chris Sale hasn’t been anywhere near his 2014 heights the last two years, but he’s still been great, and would be a tremendous compliment to Max Scherzer and Tanner Roark, who carried the Nats’ rotation in 2016 thanks to injuries to Stephen Strasburg and Joe Ross. It’s to be seen if the Nationals will part with what it takes to get these deals done, but with the Winter Meetings upon us, we might not have to wait long to find out.