As we begin the final week of spring training games before the 2015 regular season begins, there are plenty of teams that have an abundance at one position that they can use to acquire other pieces to help their team. Mainly, teams look at those out-of-option players as guys that can help land another player rather than putting him on waivers. For the Washington Nationals, their surplus lies with lefty relievers. That surplus can possibly be something that another team in their division would like to have.
According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Mets are in need of lefty relievers and they wouldn’t hesitate even if they had to make a trade with a team that went 15-4 against them last season:
“The Mets open the season April 6 against Washington, but club officials indicated they would not be concerned about making a deal with a team from their own division.” (h/t: New York Post)
In this article, Sherman discusses how it seemed as though the Nationals were trying to “feature” Jerry Blevins during Saturday’s ballgame, which the Mets won 10-2. Blevins was in to face Curtis Granderson and Lucas Duda, ultimately getting a strikeout and giving up a triple to the Mets first baseman in the sixth.
Currently, the Nationals have four lefty relievers on the roster that consists of 36 players. Those lefties are Blevins, Rich Hill (minor-league signing), Matt Thornton, and Xavier Cedeno. Blevins, Thornton, and Cedeno are all out of options, so the Nationals would either keep them on the roster, trade them, or outright release them.
As for the New York Mets, they are in need of relief help in terms of left-handers. Earlier this spring, Josh Edgin found out that he would need Tommy John surgery. Then, on Saturday, the team re-assigned Scott Rice. As of right now, the only two projected lefties on the roster (according to Roster Resource) are Dario Alvarez and a Rule V pick from the Twins back in December, Sean Gilmartin. Alvarez and Gilmartin have not played one game in the major leagues.
In January, Fox Sports and MLB Network’s Ken Rosenthal reported on a discussed blockbuster that involved both the Nationals and Mets, where Ian Desmond would have gone to New York. Those discussions along with these show that it isn’t all that farfetched for two teams to trade within the division if that trade helps out both sides.
Last season, Blevins went 2-3 with a 4.87 ERA, Cedeno only appeared in nine major league games (3.86 ERA), and Matt Thornton was on the team for two months after being traded to the Yankees, but he gave up only run in the 13 innings he pitched with the Nats if you count the postseason.
Both of these teams will play again on Tuesday afternoon in Viera before their Opening Day series begins next Monday at Nats Park. It will be interesting to see how manager Matt Williams will use his left-handers on this occasion. With Tyler Moore now needed in the outfield because of injuries, bullpen depth could be something Washington deals between now and April 6.
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