Nationals: Three Possible Trade Targets to Fix the Bullpen
Keone Kela RHP Pittsburgh Pirates
Our third and final target is Keone Kela of the Pittsburgh Pirates or the guy who Anthony Rendon hit the game-tying home run off of last night. Now despite what you might think about Kela based off his performance last night, I believe he could be a great, cheaper option for the Nationals to upgrade their pen. Kela was traded from the Texas Rangers to the Pirates in 2018 and pitched very well during his time in Pittsburgh. In 16 games with the Buccos Kela recorded a 2.93 E.R.A. in 15.1 innings and struck out 22 batters. Kela greatest strength has always been missing batts. In his Major League career, Kela has struck out at least eight more batters than his innings pitched total. In 2018 as a whole for Texas and Pittsburgh, the right-hander struck out 66 batters in 52 innings pitched. 2019 has not gotten off to a great start for Kela as he has given up five earned runs in 5.2 innings pitched including three home runs, but he has the talent and ability to turn things around quickly. Kela currently is scheduled to make just $3.17 million this season and is under team arbitration control in 2020. Another plus is Kela is just 25 years old and is entering his fifth Major League season. He clearly still has room to improve and could be a guy Washington could try to lock up to a team-friendly long-term deal for their bullpen. According to SportTrac, the Nationals have about $8 million to work with before going over the luxury tax for the 2019 season. With Kela making just $3 million this season, he could be acquired and still keep the Nats under the tax in theory. Pittsburgh does not figure to be a contender this season, so the Nationals likely could acquire Kela without having to give up one of their top prospects. Once again, Michael A. Taylor may be an attractive option for the Pirates paired with Seth Romero or Yasel Antuna could get the deal done.