In a somewhat surprising move on Wednesday afternoon, the Washington Nationals announced they acquired reliever Kyle Barraclough from the Miami Marlins.
The Washington Nationals came out of the blue on Wednesday when they announced they had traded for Miami Marlins relief pitcher Kyle Barraclough. A stunner that appears to help the team in the short and long term.
The right-hander held the closer’s role in Miami for a while this season, recording 10 saves, after impressing in a setup role previously. He finished the year with a 4.20 ERA while striking out 60 in 55.2 innings.
However, he had been one of the Marlins best relievers before this year. In his three previous years, he had compiled a 2.87 ERA and a 2.93 FIP in 163 innings, with a very impressive 12.1 K/9 ratio.
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No doubt the Nats needed bullpen help with the likes of Kelvin Herrera and Greg Holland set to be free agents, with no guarantee of return. So acquiring the former Marlins closer makes a ton of sense from that perspective.
Barraclough will likely slot in as the top setup option to Sean Doolittle as things stand with the bullpen roles in flux. Having someone with experience in that role will certainly help Davey Martinez bridge the gap to his elite left-hander.
Barraclough is also under a lot of team control moving forward, with three years of arbitration eligibility still to come. MLBTradeRumors recently projected that he would earn $1.9 million in arbitration this year, which would be great value if he can return to his pre-2018 form.
All the Nationals had to give up to acquire the reliever was international slot value, as the Marlins are likely hoping to acquire Victor Victor Mesa in the International Signing Period. It’s unclear how much slot value they gave up, but given the caliber of Barraclough, it’s reasonable to think it’s large.
Mike Rizzo is clearly not messing around with trying to fix the team after a down year in 2018. Very rarely do you see trades during the postseason, and even rarer do you see them for someone with pedigree at the highest level. It’s an early sign of intent from the front office heading into the winter.
The Washington Nationals certainly pulled off a great deal to get Kyle Barraclough in a shock move. Hopefully, it will be the first of many as they look to get back to the top of the NL East in 2019.