Washington Nationals: Worst Case Scenario Offseason

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ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 02: Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals reacts after hitting a three-run homer in the second inning to score Pedro Severino #29 and Anthony Rendon #6 against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park on April 2, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 02: Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals reacts after hitting a three-run homer in the second inning to score Pedro Severino #29 and Anthony Rendon #6 against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park on April 2, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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Washington Nationals Tanner Roark
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Tanner Roark is traded for a pair of minor leaguers.

Mike Rizzo and Billy Beane have a history of making deals together. They haven’t completed a deal together since last year when the Nationals sent Blake Treinen, Jesus Luzardo and Sheldon Neuse to Oakland for Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson, so needless to say, Rizzo and Beane are overdue.

There’s no hiding that the Oakland Athletics need starting pitching and Tanner Roark will give them just that. Roark is a free agent at the end of the season and Mike Rizzo figures now is as good a time as any to cash in on a pitcher that he has no intention of re-signing.

Rizzo flips Roark to the Athletics for James Kaprielian and Marcos Brito. In their final arbitration-eligible seasons, MLB Trade Rumors Arbitration Predictions has Anthony Rendon earning $17.6 million and Tanner Roark earning $9.8 million next year, so between the two of them, Rizzo just cleared $27.4 million off the books next year.

In Kaprielian, the Nationals get the potential for a high upside starter, possibly a #2 or #3 in the rotation, although he’s been sidelined since 2016 after undergoing Tommy John surgery in April of 2017. Kaprielian showed his potential in 2015-16 pitching in a total of 15 games, going 4-5 with a 3.36 ERA in 56 1/3 innings. The Nationals have never shied away from a high potential starter with an injury history and that continues to be the case here.

Marcos Brito is still a couple of years away from the majors but he resembles Wilmer Difo a bit. This guy isn’t going to knock your socks off, but he’s going to be a solid defender, hit for average and give you some speed on the base paths. His .231/.325/.283 slash line in the Minors leaves a lot to be desired, but he’s only 18 and has a lot of developing left to do.

Now, Rizzo is ready to fill out the rest of the roster. He knows he needs a catcher, some infield depth, a couple bullpen arms, and a starting pitcher, but after losing his biggest star in free agency and then trading away his second biggest star, it’s time to bargain hunt.

Trade completed: Tanner Roark to the Oakland Athletics for James Kaprielian and Marcos Brito.

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