With the Washington Nationals bullpen performing poorly, could a David Robertson deal be coming soon?
So far in 2017, the Washington Nationals bullpen has been the weak point of this team. Last night, the team blew a 4-2 lead in the ninth inning as Max Scherzer was unable to get the win. When it comes to the trade deadline in a couple of month, relievers have to be number one on their priority list. But, could a trade come sooner rather than later?
On Sunday, Bruce Levine from 670 The Score in Chicago said on a local baseball radio show (Hit and Run) that the Nats have scouts watching Chicago White Sox closer David Robertson this week against the Twins and a deal could come soon:
All offseason, there were many different reports about the Nats having interest in Robertson, who has one more year on his contract after this year. He is owed a total of $25 million between this year and next. But, as Bob Nightengale and Jorge Ortiz of USA Today pointed out in February, the talks were stalled:
"“The Nationals tried to include him in their deal for White Sox center fielder Adam Eaton last winter and looked like they were close to sealing the deal last week, but there’s still no trade. The White Sox remain optimistic a trade will be consummated. But a high-ranking Nationals official, speaking on condition of anonymity because talks are ongoing, says the two sides have hit a stalemate and no trade is imminent.”"
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Right now, you wouldn’t think the White Sox would be in sell mode just yet. They are currently 15-16 and 2.5 games behind the Cleveland Indians in the AL Central. One of the reasons for their success is their bullpen has a 2.39 ERA, which is the second lowest ERA in the American League.
That being said, Chicago has only had six save chances in their first 30 games. Despite the lack of save chances, Robertson has had a good start to the year. He has converted on five of his six save opportunities and has 15 strikeouts to four walks in 10.2 innings. Out of those ten outings, he has a strikeout in nine of them.
Robertson doesn’t have great velocity on his cut fastball, but he has one of the best curveballs in the league. According to Brooks Baseball, opposing hitters have a .059 batting average against that pitch this season.
With the Nats reportedly interested in Kelvin Herrera (according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports), Herrera would make more sense than Robertson. Both are under contract till 2018 and Herrera is arbitration eligible next season. Plus, he has the velocity on his fastball the Nats could use.
Yes, it might be too early to make a trade, but the Nats bullpen has been horrible this season. Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover are both still on the disabled list but Glover is starting a rehab assignment today. But, even when they come back, the Nats need someone to help this bullpen immediately.
The big questions that the Nats have to answer is are they in a desperation mode right now to deal for a reliever and do they want to make another deal with the White Sox after giving up three pitching prospects for Adam Eaton at the winter meetings? They have a 4.5 game lead in the NL East so the panic isn’t quite there yet.
Time will tell, but if the Washington Nationals want to make a run at the World Series, they need to improve the bullpen. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Robertson and the Nats are linked together once again, especially after last night’s debacle.