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When was the last time the Nats traded with each of their rivals?
Earlier today, the Red Sox and Yankees spun a trade that sent Adam Ottavino to Boston. When the news was announced, I was shocked that not only did the Yankees send a reliable reliever to a division rival, it was to their most hated enemy.
It had been over six years since the two teams were able to work out a deal. This trade got me thinking and I booted up Baseball Reference’s trade machine to see the last time Washington worked out a deal with an NL East foe.
Atlanta, March 27, 2016: Washington hasn’t made a trade with the Braves since 2016 when the Nationals sent utility man Tyler Moore to Atlanta. Moore had spent four seasons with Washington hitting .228, with 24 homers, 91 RBIs, and an OPS of .682. While in D.C., Moore mostly came off the bench but was given the occasional start.
In return, Washington received Nate Freiman. Unfamiliar with the name? That’s because the team released him a month later and he never received a call-up. Moore didn’t fare much better with Atlanta. He played for the club’s Triple-A team and elected for free agency after the season ended.
Miami, July 31, 2009: In 2018, the two team’s made a deal regarding international bonus slot money. That’s too boring, so we have to go all the way back to 2009 for the last actual trade between the two. Right before the trade deadline, the then Florida Marlins sent Washington Aaron Thompson in return for Nick Johnson. At the time of the trade, Johnson was one of the last remaining Nationals from the team’s inaugural 2005 season. He quickly became a fan favorite, known for rolling up his pants and showing off his high socks. In five seasons with Washington/Montreal, Johnson hit .280. with 56 homers, 248 RBIs, and an OPS of .867. His career was derailed by a string of injuries that led to him being shipped out.
Thompson was a pitching prospect who only spend a year with the club before being claimed off of waivers by the Pirates. Johnson finished the 2009 season with the Marlins before signing to return to the Yankees.
New York, March 30, 2015: Back when Washington was still in Montreal, the Mets were one of the Expos’ most frequent trade partners. In fact, 1968-2002, the two completed 27 trades, which was capped off when Montreal sent the franchise leader in WAR, Gary Carter, to the Mets in 1984. Fast forward to now and the two have only completed five trades together. In 2018, Washington purchased the contract of Matt Reynolds from their rival. The last real trade between the two occurred in 2015 when the Nats traded Jerry Blevins for Matt den Decker.
In one season with Washington, Blevins struggled out of the pen, going 2-3, with a 4.87 ERA, 66 strikeouts, and a 2.77 FIP. Blevins low FIP showed that he had a better season than what his stats showed, but hindsight is 50-50. With the Mets, Blevins became one of their most reliable relievers. In four seasons with New York, the veteran went 14-4, with a 3.38 ERA, 166 strikeouts, and a 3.61 FIP.
Matt den Decker only spent two years in D.C., hitting .233, with six homers, 16 RBIs, and an OPS of .742. He was used as a utility player, but he didn’t produce much. New York clearly won this trade.
Philadelphia, July 28, 2017 : The two teams have a checkered trade history that will always be remembered for Washington acquiring Jonathan Papelbon. Sadly, it’s the same Papelbon that choke slammed Bryce Harper in the dugout during a game. Luckily that wasn’t the last trade the two team’s made together. Instead, the Phillies sent over an aging veteran that would go on to hit the biggest playoff homers in Nationals franchise history. Yes, the last time the two worked out a deal, Howie Kendrick ended up in D.C.
No one would know just how big of an impact Kendrick would have with Washington. At the time of the trade, he was 34 and was acquired for depth for the team’s upcoming playoff run. After the season ended, he re-signed on a two-year deal. He ended up spending the last three and a half seasons of his career in D.C., hitting .316, with 30 homers, 113 RBIs, and an OPS of .873. While he was spectacular during the regular season, he will always be remembered for his clutch homers during the team’s 2019 World Series run.
Washington sent prospect, McKenzie Mills and international slot bonus money to the Phillies. Mills has yet to make his MLB debut and is no longer with Philadelphia. Washington’s best and worst trade have both come with the Phillies, but thankfully Kendrick was able to quell the stench left by Papelbon.