Washington Nationals: Ranking the team’s remaining needs this offseason
By Blake Finney
2nd – Relief Pitching
The Washington Nationals may have already started to address this with additions of Trevor Rosenthal and Kyle Barraclough, but it still feels a little light. Those two names still come with some risk attached, so it would be nice to see another high-leverage arm added to the mix.
The best bullpen the Nationals have had in recent years was towards the end of the 2017 season. Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson, and Brandon Kintzler were all at the top of their game to form the intimidating law firm.
However, since then, the bullpen woes have returned as Madson and Kintzler regressed before being traded while Doolittle missed extended time. That meant relievers like Justin Miller and Koda Glover to fill in during the late innings, leaving the bullpen incredibly stretched.
Rosenthal has previously been a guy able to step up as pitch lights out, but coming off of Tommy John surgery, it’s unclear if he can get back to that level in 2019. Barraclough has also previously had success, but struggled last year, though perhaps settling back into a setup role will benefit him.
So in an ideal world, the Nationals would likely look to add another good arm who could fill a setup role. However, they may need to wait for the market to play out before pouncing to see what value they can find, given the volatility of relievers.
The Nats could also go hunting for a lefty specialist, another possible need for the bullpen, but this is optional. Matt Grace is more suited to a long-man role, while Sammy Solis has proven that he hasn’t been able to consistently get lefties out, making another southpaw a possibility. An improvement somewhere in the bullpen would a big boost.