Washington Nationals Rumors: Jonathan Papelbon And Drew Storen Likely To Be Traded

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With reports that Jonathan Papelbon and Drew Storen could be traded, could the Nats have a Darren O’Day/Aroldis Chapman combination in the bullpen this winter? 

After all the Darren O’Day news over the weekend, there are more rumors swirling on how the Washington Nationals bullpen could look in 2016 as they could have a new setup man and a new closer. In his column for FOX Sports, Ken Rosenthal wrote how Jonathan Papelbon and Drew Storen are likely to be traded and that one team did call about their availability for making a trade for another reliever:

"“The Tigers, before trading for Francisco Rodriguez, made an offer to free-agent reliever Joakim Soria, according to major-league sources. They also inquired about the Nationals’ Jonathan Papelbon and Drew Storen, among other relievers… Papelbon and Storen are likely to be moved, sources say.” (h/t Rosenthal)"

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It has been expected since the offseason began that Mike Rizzo and the front office would look to move the two relievers. After trading for Papelbon before the deadline, there seemed to be a severing of the ties between the Nats and Storen, who did an excellent job as the closer in the first half of the season. Plus, while Papelbon was okay as the closer, his incident in the dugout with Bryce Harper back in September makes it tough to bring him back, even with one year left on his contract.

Of course, if the Nats do move on from both relievers, they will need to find a new late-inning combination. Part of that could be O’Day and the other piece to the puzzle could be one of the best closers in the game. Rosenthal said that “talk persists within the industry that the Nats are one of the clubs trying to land Reds closer Aroldis Chapman.”

Chapman, who will be 28 in Fenruary, is in the final year of his contract with the Reds, that he signed back in 2010. This season, Chapman appeared in 65 games, had 33 saves in 36 chances, a 1.63 ERA, and had 116 strikeouts in 66.1 innings. He has saved 33 or more games each of the last four seasons.

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While the Reds are looking to move Chapman, they will be looking for a premium return in the process. The Nats have the pitching prospects to trade, including Washington’s 2014 first round pick, Erick Fedde. Fedde got as far as low-A in his first year of professional baseball. The Reds were scouting him before last year’s trade deadline when he was with short-season Auburn.

Next: Nats Free Agent Profile: Scott Kazmir

Another storyline about a potential Chapman trade to the Nation’s Capital is that Chapman played for Dusty Baker from 2010-2013 when Baker managed in Cincinnati. If the Nats were to land Chapman and his 100+ mile per hour fastball and O’Day, it would be a strong late-inning duo out of the bullpen in the short term. Plus, it would be a strong fix to a bullpen that was one of the team’s weak points this season.

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