It makes sense that, just like last season with Matt Capps, the Nats lone All-Star representative (and All-Star Game winner) ends up at the top of our list. We don't want to draw a lot of comparisons between Clippard and Capps, because we think that Clippard has a lot better "stuff" than Capps ever did. But we will use some comparisons to help explain our reasoning to why Clippard could be traded for the right pieces.
Now, this isn't easily put, but relievers are a dime a dozen. Bullpen guys are a crucial aspect of the baseball game, and teams without a bullpen simply can't compete, but that said, besides Mariano Rivera, I can't think of a single "untouchable" reliever in baseball. A GM would be crazy not to take a phone call on Clippard if it would get a valuable piece for the organization. (See: Ramos, Wilson)
It's also proven to be extremely hard for a reliever to remain consistent over multiple years, especially with the number of innings that Clippard has pitched in the 'pen over the last couple seasons. At some point, some guys need to be sold high that have a high probability of breaking down, and sadly, Clipp is on that list.
On the flip side, though, Clippard is under team control until 2015 and could prove to be a valuable piece in the future-Nats successes. We're not saying the Nats should take Clippard and unload him for anyone. He's a valuable piece and if the right trade didn't come along, the Nats would be crazy to let him go.
Clippard is arbitration eligible in 2012 and will command a big raise over his sub-million dollar salary, which is just a bit of extra info to help you make your decision.
So what do you think, CapBallers? Would you trade Clippard for the right pieces? If so, who? Remember to think with your baseball head, and not with your love of "The Goggles."