Despite missing out on former Kansas City Royals closer Greg Holland, the Washington Nationals shouldn’t make a panic move on the trade market to help bolster their bullpen.
While he hasn’t been his elite self in three years because of an injury, Holland would’ve been a solid pickup for the Nationals, considering the one-year/$7 million guaranteed deal he signed. Despite missing out on his services, the Nationals can’t panic and go after a closer on the trade market.
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While they’ve failed to sign a reliever on the open market, the Nationals do have the option of pursuing a reliever on the trade market. Such a move, however, would be a panic one. While the trade market does feature two intriguing relievers – Chicago White Sox reliever David Robertson and the Tampa Bay Rays Alex Colome – both righties come with question marks.
David Robertson has struggled a bit in his White Sox tenure as he hasn’t been exactly lockdown in the ninth inning.
With back to back years of ERA’s over 3.40, one must wonder if Robertson is still an elite closer. He’s also blown a combined 14 saves in his two year tenure with the White Sox, which is more blown saves than he recorded in 2011-2014 combined. In addition to Robertson’s struggles, the Nationals may also want to think twice about making another deal with the White Sox.
At the Winter Meetings, the Nationals made a deal to acquire outfielder Adam Eaton at a very hefty price. The Nationals gave up top pitching prospects Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, and former first round pick Dane Dunning. Giving up two of their three best prospects, and a former first-round pick seemed, and still seems, like an overpay for a player, who while underrated, is not a superstar.
In theory, the Nationals may have been trade robbed, and they’d be wise to not make another deal with the White Sox to avoid another controversial high priced deal. That doesn’t mean they should turn their attention to Rays closer Alex Colome though.
While he was an All-Star in 2016, Rays closer Alex Colome has only been elite for one year, and it would be unwise for the Nationals to deal for Colome until he shows that he can pitch at that level on a consistent basis. Also, if the Nationals were to trade for him, he wouldn’t come cheap. In a potential trade, the Nationals would likely have to surrender their top prospect, outfielder Victor Robles, and/or pitching prospects A.J. Cole and Erick Fedde.
Considering the thin farm system they already have, another deal for an impact player may deplete the Nationals future. As a result, the Nationals should find their closer internally, as opposed to trading for one.
Doing so would help aid their payroll and their farm system, and maybe for the better personnel wise. Kelley was solid in a setup role last year, and Treinen really came into his own, making a very good showing for himself. Going with either Kelley or Treinen in the ninth inning would be wise for the Nationals.
Swinging and missing on the top four free agent closers was a real smack to the face for the Washington Nationals, but failing to ink one of them doesn’t mean they should make a trade.
While guys like David Robertson and Alex Colome could be intriguing, the Nationals can’t afford to lose any more depth in their minor league system. That means they should stand pat, and find their closer internally, as opposed to finding it on the trade market.