As the Washington Nationals shop for a closer, here are the top five names to watch. The risks are high, will the rewards be as well?
This is the wrong year for the Washington Nationals to need a closer.
In 2016 Mark Melancon, Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller were dangled in front of needy teams and snapped up like today’s catch at a fish market. This year, no high-grade lobster and salmon await shoppers as the end of July approaches.
To complicate matters, most of the American League still has a chance at the playoffs. Where teams floundering around .500 in the past would tempt fate to stick a line out for fresh prospects, that luxury no longer exists. If you can reach the playoffs, you can win the World Series. Sellers become buyers.
The largest problems the Nats face as they prepare for another trip to the playoffs is the bullpen. There is no closer and no one healthy who wants the job.
Koda Glover has the best pure stuff on the staff, but a myriad of injuries have him on the disabled list for the near future. Hard to trust your season to a player with three trips to the DL in a year.
Enny Romero hits triple-digits with his fastball. His stuff is electric if it finds the strike zone. Although improved the last month, unless he nails an audition coming off the All-Star Break, there is no way Washington turns to him to save their season.
Blake Treinen may never recover his confidence after starting the season as closer. Shawn Kelley, before getting hurt, turned into a shell of himself. When Matt Albers is the best option, you are in trouble. And, all teams know it.
With no leverage, Mike Rizzo must cobble together a deal to give the Nats a fighting chance. If they are to advance past the NL Divisional Series, they need one of the five pitchers on this list.
With apologies to Addison Reed fans, here are the top targets on the Nats shopping list this month.