WASHINGTON -- Has right-hander Jason Marquis pitched his last game for the Nationals? There is a strong possibility he could be traded before the non-waiver Trade Deadline, which is this Sunday.
Marquis said he would like to stay with Washington and get a multiyear deal. But with right-handers Chien-Ming Wang, Stephen Strasburg and Brad Peacock on their way to the big leagues, one has to believe Marquis will be one of the first players on the team to be dealt before the Deadline.
If Marquis stays past the Deadline and then leaves as a free agent after the season, the Nationals will not receive any compensation for him.
After Sunday's 3-1 loss to the Dodgers, Marquis said he was not thinking about getting traded.
"I've been through it before," Marquis said. "All I can do and all I can control is the pitch I make, the work that I put in. That's about it. I'm wearing a Washington Nationals uniform. Every time I step on the mound, I'm going to give everything I have for that team. Until someone tells me otherwise, that is what I'm going to keep doing."
Marquis isn't the only member of the Nats who is mentioned in trade rumors. This past weekend, Ian Desmond's name kept popping up, but a baseball source in the Nationals' organization is adamant that Desmond isn't going anywhere, believing his offense and defense will come together soon.
But one wonders how long the Nationals are going to keep second baseman Stephen Lombardozzi waiting in the wings. He could solve their problems at the top of the order. Entering Tuesday's action against the Marlins, the leadoff spot has been a disaster for Washington, with players in that spot going 84-for-427 (.197) with an on-base percentage of .297.
If Lombardozzi joins the team, it would mean Danny Espinosa would be switched to shortstop.
The Nats also want to acquire a center fielder who could help them for a long time. They have expressed interest in B.J. Upton of the Rays and Michael Bourn of the Astros. However, Washington would have to give up a lot of talent to get either player. The Rays are one team that has interest in Desmond.
During Spring Training, according to a baseball source, the Nationals were not willing to trade a lot for Bourn.
Tyler Clippard is another name that keeps coming up in trade rumors. He is clearly Washington's best reliever. However, general manager Mike Rizzo has to be blown away to trade the right-hander. A quality leadoff hitter and a starting pitcher would be a nice return in exchange for Clippard.
Clippard is one person who is ignoring the rumors.
"I don't really think about it," Clippard said recently. "Those kind of things are fun for the media to talk about. Us, as players, we have to stay focus with the ballclub that we are on. All that other stuff, I have no control. So why even worry about it?"
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.