Day 5 – Completely revamp the Nats bullpen
Now that we’ve freed up a little bit more luxury tax space, we can go out and improve that ever troublesome bullpen. Seemingly the arch nemesis of the Washington Nationals for so long.
Thankfully, before addressing the bullpen, I read an article over at our fellow FanSided site Blog Red Machine. They talked about the Cincinnati Reds possibly trading closer Raisel Iglesias, who would be a perfect fit in a Josh Hader type role for the Nationals.
The Reds are in dire need of starting pitching right now, and their GM Nick Krall immediately tries to ask for Joe Ross. I hang up right there. But I call back minutes later pretending it was lost connection, proving my hardball tactics need work. We show him the groundball stats of Erick Fedde and convince him that they will play well in the Great American Ballpark.
Krall is a determined man, and he says if we go down to Fedde, we have to include Mason Denaburg. Yikes. Eventually, I schmooze him into taking Wil Crowe instead, who had a fantastic year at High-A Potomac, before slowing down a bit in Double-A.
They also take Pedro Severino off our hands, who would’ve been let loose anyway after being out of options, and will be a solid backup catching option for the Reds.
Trade Completed: Cincinnati Reds receive Erick Fedde, Wil Crowe, and Pedro Severino. Washington Nationals acquire Raisel Iglesias
The bullpen now looks awesome, but we have one last glaring issue, no clear lefty specialist. We need to stop Davey Martinez from trying to wedge the square peg of Sammy Solis into the round LOOGY hole.
Last season, between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Atlanta Braves, Jonny Venters allowed a wOBA of just .185 to left-handed hitters. That figure was fourth lowest in the majors among those who pitched at least 10 innings against lefties.
Venters earned the veteran minimum last season, as he looked to re-establish himself at the major league level. He seemed to do well enough to warrant a pay rise and we put a $1 million offer out there for him to come to D.C. and be a big part of the bullpen.
He immediately reaches back out to me as if he hadn’t actually had much interest this offseason. Either that or he really wants to come and play for the Nationals now they’re under my leadership, so let’s go with the latter option.
But he wants a little extra security and asks for a two-year deal. We up the money and give him a team option for the same amount, which he should be able to hit if he performs as well as he did last year against left-handers. A perfect fit for us.
Contract Signed: Jonny Venters signs a 1-year $2 million deal with a team option of $2 million.