Washington Nationals: What If Stephen Strasburg Left?
Mark Melancon Would’ve Been Resigned
Due to budget restrictions, and an unwillingness to spend an absurd amount of money, the Nationals let closer Mark Melancon walk to the San Francisco Giants on a four-year/$62 million dollar deal.
Despite their unwillingness to spend big this offseason, the Nationals still extended an offer to Melancon, but it was for 10 million less in total.
Could the Nationals have allocated some of the unused money on Strasburg to match the Giants’ offer? Yes.
The Nationals currently have an issue on their hands in regards to the backend of their bullpen – whether to trade for a closer, or find the solution internally.
They have already swung and missed on Melancon, Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen, which leaves former Kansas City Royals reliever Greg Holland as the best remaining free agent reliever. However, Holland hasn’t been healthy in two years, and he’s a risk for any team.
Melancon though is not. He is a top five reliever, and losing him is like pulling a tooth for the Nationals. If they weren’t so keen on resigning Melancon, they could’ve made a trade to find their solution at closer.
In the Adam Eaton deal, the Nationals gave up Giolito, Lopez, and Dunning. If they hadn’t gave Strasburg the megadeal, and used that money to sign Fowler, they could’ve easily dealt for a closer.
Two guys the Nationals were said to have interest in were Royals reliever Wade Davis and Tampa Bay Rays All-Star closer Alex Colome. By not trading for Eaton, the Nationals could’ve dealt Giolito or Lopez for one of the two and, while it would’ve been tough to trade a starting pitching prospect for a reliever, it would’ve been more plausible than the super-deal the Nationals made for Eaton, due to the bullpen being more of a necessity than an outfielder.