Nationals raise the white flag on 2018

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Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo tried with all his might to conceal the white flag, but he couldn't.

It was simply too large. Too white. Too noisy, as it flapped in the wind of yet another D.C. storm in a summer that has been filled with storms. The dark clouds have hovered over Nats Park for much of the season, both literally and figuratively, a constant reminder of the tempestuous campaign the team has had.

Still, Rizzo sat there on Tuesday and tried to obscure the white flag. He tried to hide the fact that his club has all but given up on the 2018 season.

"I still think today, we have the talent base on this team to play competitive games at the end of the season," Rizzo said a half-hour after the Nationals announced that they had traded second baseman Daniel Murphy to the Chicago Cubs and shipped first baseman Matt Adams to the St. Louis new nike nfl jerseys

The moves were surprising, given that they came just three weeks after Nats ownership doubled down at the non-waiver trade deadline. Despite entering play on July 31 with a sub-.500 record (52-53) and a 5.5-game deficit in the National League East, the two-time defending division champs opted against breaking up the band. They decided not to sell off potentially profitable pieces such as Murphy and Adams, not to mention Bryce Harper and Gio Gonzalez and other free-agents-to-be, and instead pushed all their chips into the middle of the table.3

"We just couldn't give up on this team," principal owner Mark Lerner said in an open letter that went out to fans on Aug. 1. Twenty days later, with his club still a game under .500 and with an even larger divisional deficit (7.5 games behind the Braves), Lerner and the front office essentially gave up. Not that you'd know it by listening to Rizzo. Or anyone else in the Nationals clubhouse.

"We're only 7½ games back," outfielder Bryce Harper said. "So we're going to play it 'til the end and see what happens."

Added first baseman Ryan Zimmerman: "By no means are we done."cheap nfl jerseys nike china

Then there was manager Davey Martinez, who when asked how he would handle the messaging to a clubhouse that just lost two key roster pieces, said, "I've had guys already come into the office, and I don't think I need to convince them. They know what we're playing for, and they're all-in. We knew this coming in here, today's a big game, so they're fired up about playing today."

As if that weren't enough, Martinez said he spoke with Murphy and Adams and told them, "We'll see you in the playoffs."

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