Harper excited to take his hacks in the Derby
PHILADELPHIA — Though he knows the Nationals haven't gotten the kind of performance he's hoped from the back end of his rotation, manager Davey Johnson said today he doesn't expect the club to pursue pitching help before this month's trade deadline.
Johnson cited the pipeline of young pitching that should arrive in the big leagues by next season as reason not to acquire another starter now.
"One of our areas that we have very little depth in, obviously, is starting pitching," he said. "But after this year and early into next year, some of our young starters should be knocking at the door here. As far as making a move and picking up somebody, a lease just for the short-term, I don't think that's in our plans because I think we have enough talent here and enough coming that we wouldn't do that."
Johnson believes the return of a healthy Ross Detwiler after the All-Star break, and continued improvement from Dan Haren will give the Nationals five starters that can withstand a pennant race.
"We should have Det back right after the break. It looks like Haren's back on track," he said. "So I don't see anything that's out there that we would go spend a lot of money to get."
Johnson did potentially leave the door open for the addition of another veteran bench player in the wake of this week's trade for Scott Hairston, citing Chad Tracy's struggles this season. The 33-year-old pinch-hitter is batting .136 with three homers, five RBI and a .176 on-base percentage.
"I think the next couple weeks, more clarity will come to that picture," Johnson said. "You know, Tracy's an outstanding left-handed hitter and he hasn't done it. We had a young right-handed hitter [Tyler Moore] and he wasn't doing the things he did last year. So we made that move, because that gives Tyler Moore a chance to go play. So that was twofold. It helped this club and it helped in his development."