WASHINGTON (AP) -Shortly after the non-waiver trade deadline passed Tuesday with no deals by the Washington Nationals, closer Chad Cordero sat in the home dugout at RFK Stadium in his blue warmup jersey and smiled.
``It feels really good to be able to stay here and hopefully see that new stadium next year,'' Cordero said. ``I heard they were asking too much. That made me feel a lot better - it meant the chances of me going were very slim.''
Cordero, 1-2 with 21 saves and a 2.65 ERA this season, and setup man Jon Rauch were thought to be the players most likely to depart Washington before the annual deadline to make deals without having to pass players through waivers.
Instead, those two righty relievers - and everyone else - stuck around.
``We explored every possibility we could to help our club long term, and at the end of the day, we did nothing,'' general manager Jim Bowden said.
He said the Nationals came close to making two trades, but one was scrapped because the GM didn't want to part with minor league prospects, and the other was a three-team proposal that fell through.
Ten days ago, Dmitri Young and Ronnie Belliard were also thought to be on the market, but both wound up signing two-year extensions over the last week.
So the Nationals wind up in a situation similar to last year: A last-place team expected to be a seller in the trade market that holds onto its players. In 2006, it was slugging outfielder Alfonso Soriano who Washington kept instead of dealing at the deadline.
He left as a free agent in the offseason, signing with the Chicago Cubs, while the Nationals got two draft picks as compensation.
Eventually, Washington did make waiver deals in August involving Livan Hernandez, Marlon Anderson and Daryle Ward.
``We spent the whole day piecing together what we're trying to do and also listening to other people and working on the trades,'' Nationals manager Manny Acta said after the 4 p.m. deadline came and went. ``That's the way it works. Some people are interested in your players, but they probably don't value them as much as you do. And so that's why those guys are probably still here.''
Cordero set the franchise record with 47 saves in 2005. This June, he became, at 25, the second-youngest pitcher to reach 100 career saves.
Rauch leads the majors with 56 appearances this season, and he's 7-2 with three saves and a 3.79 ERA.
``We like them both a lot,'' Bowden said. ``We don't want to trade them, unless you're getting pieces that help us win a championship in a few years. They're not free agents. We didn't have to trade anybody. It was a great situation. We didn't have to dump any payroll. We didn't have to trade anyone just to trade somebody.''
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