With Aroldis Chapman off the board, could Wade Davis be the next closer target for the Washington Nationals?
The Washington Nationals lost out on one of their big closer targets now that Aroldis Chapman is heading from the New York Yankees to the Chicago Cubs. There will be many relievers on the trade market between now and August 1, but there is a gap between the rest of the relievers behind Chapman and one other closer. That closer is Royals’ right-hander Wade Davis.
This weekend, Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball on Fanrag Sports reported that the Washington Nationals have contacted the Royals about the 30-year-old right-hander, but the asking price is going to be high. Here is what Heyman wrote:
"“The Nationals and a few other teams searching for a big-time closer have checked in on Royals star closer Wade Davis, and they have found the asking price to be higher than the price put on Yankees star closer Aroldis Chapman.”"
Unlike Chapman, Davis does have a $10 million team option on his contract for next year. With that being said, the Cubs paid a big price for Chapman to the Yankees as they gave up their top prospect, shortstop Gleyber Torres, and outfielder Billy McKinney as two of the four pieces in the deal. So, it’s understandable that the Royals would want a lot back for Davis in any trade.
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"“With Davis under contract the rest of this season and for just $10 million next season, the Royals bandied about a potential target, according to sources: Lucas Giolito.”"
Davis, who has made the All-Star team each of the last two seasons, is 38-for-40 in save chances over that period. This year, he is 21-for-23 in saves with a 1.10 ERA to go with 31 strikeouts to 12 walks in 34 games. Davis did spend some time on the DL in late June-early July because of a right forearm injury, but he came back on July 16.
If there’s one edge that Davis does have on Chapman, it’s his track record in the postseason. In his last 20 postseason games, Davis has given up one earned run (2014 when he set up for Greg Holland), has 38 strikeouts to five walks, and is 4-for-4 in save chances. As for Chapman, he has no saves in the two postseasons he appeared in (2010 and 2012).
I don’t expect Davis to be acquired by the Washington Nationals because of the premium any team would have to give up for Davis. But, he has proven in the last two years to be one of the best closers in baseball and has stepped up in big moments.
While I wouldn’t give up Giolito in any deal at this point, despite his struggles with command of his offspeed pitchers at the Major League level, Davis is a pitcher that is worth giving up a Reynaldo Lopez or an Erick Fedde to bring more stability into the later innings for October. But, in the end, the price I think will be too high for the Washington Nationals.