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10 biggest trades in Nationals history

MLB.com @JamalCollier

WASHINGTON -- The trade market has been one of the most effective tools used by Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo to build such a successful team. There have been many good trades, a few egregiously bad ones and many that significantly impacted franchise history.

Starting pitching and bullpen help have been the most frequent needs on Washington's shopping list, although an aggressive move to acquire an outfielder and a trade considered one of the biggest steals in recent memory also stand out. MLB.com looks at the 10 trades with the biggest impact in Nationals history:

WASHINGTON -- The trade market has been one of the most effective tools used by Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo to build such a successful team. There have been many good trades, a few egregiously bad ones and many that significantly impacted franchise history.

Starting pitching and bullpen help have been the most frequent needs on Washington's shopping list, although an aggressive move to acquire an outfielder and a trade considered one of the biggest steals in recent memory also stand out. MLB.com looks at the 10 trades with the biggest impact in Nationals history:

1. The Gio Gonzalez trade
Nats got from the A's: LHP Gio Gonzalez, RHP Robert Gilliam
Nats gave up: RHPs Brad Peacock and A.J. Cole, C Derek Norris, LHP Tommy Milone
Date: Dec. 23, 2011

Video: WSH@ATL: Gonzalez fans eight over seven strong

For about a year, the Nationals searched for another established starting pitcher and they ended up acquiring a lefty who would become one of the foundations of their rotation. Gonzalez lasted seven seasons in D.C., as he collected the fourth-most wins (86) in team history and started the Nats' first postseason game ever in 2012. He left with the fifth-most Wins Above Replacement (21.3) of any player in Nationals history.

2. Coming in for the steal
Nats got: SS Trea Turner, RHP Joe Ross
Padres got: 1B/OF Wil Myers
Rays got: OF Steven Souza Jr.
Date: Dec. 19, 2014

Video: WSH@COL: Turner rips a 2-run triple to right-center

Although this deal is not as lopsided as it once looked, many evaluators believe the Nationals made out like bandits in this three-team swap. There were several other Minor Leaguers involved, but these were the main pieces. The Nats, the third team added to the trade, received perhaps the most promising player in Turner -- currently their everyday shortstop, a true leadoff hitter and stolen-base threat -- as well as a capable starter in Joe Ross.

3. Badly needed relief
Nats got from the A's: LHP Sean Doolittle, RHP Ryan Madson
Nats gave up: RHP Blake Treinen, LHP Jesus Luzardo, INF Sheldon Neuse
Date: July 16, 2017

Video: WSH@NYM: Madson induces a double play to notch save

When this trade is reviewed a few years down the line, there's a chance the Nationals will have dealt away too much -- considering Treinen was an All-Star closer the next season and Luzardo is currently dominating in the Minors. But the 2017 Nationals were a legitimate World Series contender in the first half, with a bullpen that threatened to torpedo those chances if they did not fix it. Doolittle and Madson were instant successes as lockdown relievers late in games.

4. Diamond in the rough
Nats got from the Rangers: RHPs Tanner Roark and Ryan Tatusko
Nats gave up: INF Cristian Guzman
Date: July 30, 2010

Video: WSH@CHC: Roark tosses 7 2/3 innings, strikes out 7

This is perhaps the biggest steal of Rizzo's career, as he added a late bloomer in Roark -- who has been a major part of the Nats for the past six seasons -- in exchange for the final 15 games of Guzman's career. A 93-loss Washington team was looking to shed Guzman's contract at the Trade Deadline and ended up acquiring a fixture for its starting rotation.

5. Surprise aggression
Nats got from the White Sox: OF Adam Eaton
Nats gave up: RHPs Lucas Giolito, Dane Dunning and Reynaldo Lopez
Date: Dec. 8, 2016

Video: WSH@ATL: Eaton rips an RBI double down the line

This will go down as Washington's most aggressive move, as it unloaded its three top pitching prospects to get Eaton -- a gamble for a player who, while highly regarded, has never made an All-Star team. But the Nats had high hopes for Eaton and liked his favorable contract. His Nats' tenure has been mired by leg injuries so far -- a torn left ACL and a left ankle injury the next season -- and the club is hoping Eaton can return to form and prove he is worth every penny they paid to acquire him.

6. The Buffalo
Nats got from the Twins: C Wilson Ramos, LHP Joe Testa
Nats gave up: RHP Matt Capps
Date: July 29, 2010

Video: WSH@PIT: Ramos hits moonshot to the opposite field

Another Trade Deadline deal that worked out in Washington's favor, as it turned a few months of a rental closer in Capps into the club's starting backstop for parts of seven seasons. Ramos put together some of the best offensive seasons by a catcher in team history and was beloved by Nats fans as "The Buffalo."

7. A shutdown closer
Nats got from the Pirates: RHP Mark Melancon
Nats gave up: LHPs Felipe Vazquez and Taylor Hearn
Date: July 30, 2016

Video: MIA@WSH: Melancon secures a 10-7 win with 47th save

Adding relief help at the Deadline has become somewhat of an annual tradition for the Nats, even if the cost of such trades is beginning to add up. But they needed to add Melancon in 2016, a time when closers such as Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman fetched a heavy return in prospects.

8. The Papelbon trade
Nats got from the Phillies: RHP Jonathan Papelbon
Nats gave up: RHP Nick Pivetta
Date: July 28, 2015

Video: MIA@WSH: Papelbon induces double play to earn save

While this is a trade many fans wish the Nats could have back, it is certainly one of the biggest and most impactful in club history. Looking to boost the bullpen, Rizzo acquired Papelbon to replace Drew Storen as closer down the stretch in 2015, which infamously ended in the dugout implosion where Papelbon put his hands around the neck of soon-to-be National League MVP Bryce Harper.

9. Finally, a center fielder
Nats got from the Twins: OF Denard Span
Nats gave up: RHP Alex Meyer
Date: Nov. 29, 2012

Video: ATL@WSH: Span slides to make a fine grab in center

Washington had long been in need of a center fielder and leadoff hitter -- and it found both in Span, who spent three seasons with the Nationals. Even though he battled through some injuries, Span became a tablesetter and a strong defensive center fielder during the 2013 and '14 seasons.

10. Fister arrives
Nats got from the Tigers: RHP Doug Fister
Nats gave up: LHPs Robbie Ray and Ian Krol, INF Steve Lombardozzi
Date: Dec. 2, 2013

Video: CIN@WSH: Fister holds Reds to two runs over six

Fister was remarkable for the Nationals in 2014, helping lead the Nats back to the postseason and making up one-fifth of the club's "super-rotation" heading into the '15 season. Injuries and inconsistencies hindered Fister from making a greater impact, but the price was one the team was willing to pay for another strong rotation arm.

Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

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