Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Nationals will have to do some soul searching during the All-Star Break and heading into trade season.

At 45-41, Washington remains mired in mediocrity. But it’s just 6.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves in the National League East and would be a wild card team if the season ended today.

How the next couple weeks play out could determine Washington’s future. That includes a potential fire sale.

In talking about this possibility, primarily ace starter Max Scherzer, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo didn’t completely close the door.

Reading between the lines, trading someone of Scherzer’s ilk would indeed be franchise-altering. In turn, the Nats would be looking at adding multiple high-end prospects.

Scherzer, 34, remains one of the most-dominant pitchers in baseball. He’s put up an 8-5 record with a 2.43 ERA and 0.99 WHIP thus far this season. The three-time Cy Young winner also leads the NL in innings pitched (122.1) and strikeouts (170).

The ace starter is signed through the 2021 season. This means any team looking to acquire Scherzer wouldn’t be taking on a rental, furthering the return Washington receives.

Is a trade likely? No. But stranger things have happened.