Washington Nationals: Romero, Solis and Glover battle for bullpen roles

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 24: Koda Glover
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 24: Koda Glover /

The Washington Nationals face an intriguing position battle in the bullpen if Brandon Kintzler goes. Who will take his role? Let’s find out.

If Brandon Kintzler leaves, the Washington Nationals face an interesting battle for who pitches the seventh-inning as a setup guy.

Kintzler is the best solution but, as a free agent, he will get offers from other teams as ether a closer or the primary setup role. His versatility makes him an attractive option on the open market. If he stays, his ability to either pitch the seventh or spell Ryan Madson or Sean Doolittle gives the Nats solid depth.

If Kintzler leaves, Enny Romero, Sammy Solis and Koda Glover will audition for the job. Throw in Matt Albers if he re-signs with the club.

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Romero, Solis and Glover are all hard throwers.

Romero’s fastball touches triple-digits. His control improved over the course of the season. By the end of the year, he knew where his fastball was going.  Capable of throwing over an inning, the righty might straddle frames to keep the rest of the pen fresher. If he learns to mix his breaking stuff with the fastball, he has closer potential.

The same applies for Glover.

The best reliever coming out of West Palm Beach last spring, some were surprised when he was passed over for the closer role. By the time Blake Treinen and Shawn Kelley pitched themselves out of the job, Glover filled in well until stubbornness got in the way.

Glover fell into the same trap young players fall into trying to win a slot. He pitched hurt and aggravated his injury. The Nats missed his arm down the stretch and in the playoffs. If he stays healthy, the sky is the limit. Dave Martinez and company want him injury-free.

The same holds for the lefty Solis.

He features a hard fastball which fool hitters. When Solis returned from the disabled list, his numbers drew attention. Over his last 17.2 innings, he whiffed 21. In September, he scattered a single hit over 8.1 frames. Only four batters reached of the 29 he faced while the scoreboard never changed.

Even if both Kintzler and Albers return, there is a role for the other three. But, watch how they get used next spring in the Grapefruit League.

If you were to assign a favorite, Glover offers the best control of the three. A crucial factor in a one-run game. Romero matured as 2017 went on, but he must mix his pitches to gain effectiveness. Solis thrives on lefty-versus-lefty situations, but will retire righties.

Next: MAT poised to shine in 2018

Never too early to talk position battles and this one proves to be juicy.