A few days ago, an MLB.com report noted that the Washington Nationals have expressed interest in the Astros ace, Roy Oswalt.

The Nationals are currently 24-23 in the extremely competitive NL East, and with all five teams having a shot, the addition of Oswalt to any of the five would push them to the top of the division.

In Washington’s particular case, though, Oswalt would make a perfect addition.

To start with, the Nationals’ pitching has not been very effective. Livan Hernandez is holding his own, but John Lannan and Craig Stammen are struggling badly. Scott Olsen is hurt, and Jason Marquis is going to be out for awhile. As a result, it’s likely the Nationals could slip down the standings, so they will want Oswalt sooner rather than at the deadline.

If they’re still competitive at the trade deadline, though, then a combination of Oswalt, Hernandez, Stephen Strasburg, and Marquis would suddenly make for a very effective rotation.

Speaking of Strasburg, he does not seem like he would need a mentor with how well he’s been pitching. If he should need one, though, who better than Oswalt? Plus, Oswalt and Strasburg would make for a great one-two punch, which you need if you want to reach the playoffs.

There are a couple roadblocks to this working though. If the Nationals do fall due to injuries or other issues, and end up near the bottom of the division, Oswalt is not going to want to go there. He wants to win now, justifiably so since the Astros are going nowhere.

Also, where would you put Oswalt? As banged up as the Nationals are now with pitching, in August Marquis, Chien-Ming Wang, and Jordan Zimmermann will all be back. That’s at least six able starters in the rotation, so someone will have to head to the bullpen. (By then, going to the minors wouldn’t accomplish much of anything.)

That’s not saying the Nationals can still pull it off, but they’ll likely have to send one of the veterans over in a trade, and I couldn’t see the Astros wanting people who are just coming off the 60-day DL, though you never know.

I could bash the lack of run support that the Nationals have as well, but many NL East teams are in the lower half of the league when it comes to that. That just shows how valuable great pitching is in that division.

If the Nationals can go into the next two months with a game plan that handles what they will do with every pitcher who is on the DL and every pitcher who’s struggling, if they can figure out what they’re willing to give up to grab a playoff spot this year, along with any other caveats, and if they feel Oswalt is worth it, then they should go for it.

It’s a shame that they probably could not get him now; they need Oswalt in June, and July more than they need him in August and September. All we can do now is wait and see, especially with Washington’s pitching situation.

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