7/31/2013 8:54 P.M. ET
Nationals focus on talent they have at Deadline
Johnson expresses optimism as team decides to stand pat on trades
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
DETROIT -- The Nationals were quiet before Wednesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline.
They were not looking to make a major deal because, despite having a 52-56 record, the team is confident it can win with the starting eight position players and pitching staff it has.
"I like my ballclub," manager Davey Johnson said. "We have the talent. We have to start expressing [our talent]."
General manager Mike Rizzo was not available for comment. He was unable to strengthen his bench, which is one of the most suspect in baseball. Earlier this month, he already added a veteran presence to the bench by acquiring outfielder Scott Hairston from the Cubs. Since the trade, Hairston is 2-for-17 (.118) and plays primarily against left-handed pitching. Overall, Hairston is batting .164 with eight home runs and 19 RBIs.
Adding a veteran left-handed hitter for the bench would help the Nationals. Current players such as Roger Bernadina and Steve Lombardozzi have not provided pop from the left side.
"You just don't tear up the talent pool and make a big change for the sake of making a change," Johnson said. "I don't regret saying World Series or bust. It looks more like bust. This is my last go-around anyway, but I want to do what's best for the organization. I want this organization to continue to be a first-division ballclub. The Lerner family has done that, Rizzo has done that. We are not holding our end of it on the field. … I am optimistic about this team."
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.