The Washington Nationals made a huge splash on Monday night as they acquired Kansas City Royals closer, Kelvin Herrera. A huge move to bolster the bullpen.
Herrera has been lights out for the Royals this year, with a stellar 1.05 ERA and is 14 of 16 in save chances. Although his strikeout rate is the lowest it’s been since 2014 he’s still getting the results due to a career low H/9 as he continues to dominate opposing hitters.
He’s pitched in some of the highest leverage situations imaginable with the Royals. The right-hander was a key part of the dominant bullpen than won the Royals a World Series title in 2015 over the New York Mets.
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One knock on him is that he’s routinely only been going one inning, not having five or six out saves. But before being the primary setup man or closer, he frequently went more than an inning back in 2014. So should the Nats require him to do so, he’ll be capable.
With this move, it’s likely that Herrera will slot in behind Sean Doolittle as the primary setup option. Ryan Madson, on the whole, has been successful, but prone to blow-ups. Getting Herrera secures those last two innings and shortens the game for the team.
What did the Nationals give up to get Herrera?
The Nationals lost three prospects, but thankfully none of the blue-chip guys were involved. Heading to Kansas City are outfielder Blake Perkins, third-baseman Kelvin Gutierrez, and right-hander Yohanse Morel.
Gutierrez has long been a player with a great hit tool, possessing a career .285 average. But this year, he’s added some more power with five homers, the most he’s hit in a season, and it’s only June. A nice future piece, for sure.
Perkins is a raw toolsy outfielder who’s had a great approach at the plate but lacks power. Currently with the Potomac Nationals, Perkins could easily develop into a major league player.
And then Morel is a 17 year old pitcher who’s made just one professional appearance in his career. There’s no telling what his value is for a few years yet.
Overall the package given up to get Herrera seems fair for both sides. The Nationals didn’t have to give up any of their very top guys, given he’s only signed for this season. The Royals got some nice high upside prospects for a guy who’s contract is running out, and could even come back in the off-season.
The Washington Nationals made an early move to help bolster their bullpen. Kelvin Herrera is going to be a huge part of the bridge to Doolittle in the ninth.