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Rizzo: Nats 'will do what's necessary to win'

With Trade Deadline looming, Nationals face a tough decision -- buy or sell?
MLB.com @jonmorosi

History suggests the Washington Nationals should consider selling at next week's non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Their actions say they won't.

History suggests the Washington Nationals should consider selling at next week's non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Their actions say they won't.

The Nats have not informed teams that they are prepared to trade pending free agents -- such as Bryce Harper -- and there is no indication they are close to doing so.

Video: ATL@WSH: Harper crushes a solo homer to center in 8th

When asked to describe his approach to the Trade Deadline, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo told MLB.com, "[We are] still optimistic about the division, and we will do what's necessary to win this year and beyond in any deals we make."

Still, there is no denying the urgency of the Nats' present circumstances: They began play Tuesday at 49-50 and facing six-game deficits in both the National League East and the NL Wild Card races.

Since Major League Baseball added a second Wild Card in 2012, no team has been six or more games back of the second Wild Card after Aug. 1 and recovered to reach the postseason, according to research by Mike Berger of FOX Sports.

Tweet from @jonmorosi: Key context on #Nats buy/sell decision: They are 6 games back of the NL���s second Wild Card. Since @MLB added a second Wild Card in 2012, no team has made up a deficit of 6+ games after Aug. 1, per Mike Berger of @FOXSports. @MLBNetwork

For now, the Nationals are looking to add a starting pitcher in hopes of fortifying a rotation that has been unreliable in games not started by Max Scherzer or Jeremy Hellickson. But if Washington pivots -- perhaps in August, when waivers are required for Major League player movement -- Rizzo would have a number of appealing rental trade candidates.

Among Nats players on expiring contracts: Harper, Hellickson, Daniel Murphy, Matt Adams, Gio Gonzalez, Ryan Madson, Kelvin Herrera and Shawn Kelley.

Jon Paul Morosi is a reporter for MLB.com and MLB Network.

Washington Nationals