Step Four: Somehow Fix The Bullpen Via Trades and Free Agency
When the Washington Nationals began their 2019 season, the one question that remained about their team was the bullpen. Instead of going after big-name players in free agency, Mike Rizzo and the Nationals organization decided to try to put together a group of under-the-radar but quality bullpen arms.
On paper, these moves looked like they would leave Washington with a solid bullpen that could bend but not break, but on the field, they have gone about as bad a humanly possible. To date, here are the ERA’s of every member of the Nationals bullpen who has pitched in more than five games.
- Doolittle: 3.43
- Miller: 4.02
- Sipp: 5.40
- Barraclough: 5.40
- Suero: 7.17
- Ross 7:82
- Grace: 8.02
- Jennings: 13.50
- Rosenthal: 36.00
The highest bullpen earned run average in the last ten Major League seasons was the 2010 Diamondbacks at 5.74. The last team to have an average bullpen ERA over six was the 2007 Devil Rays at 6.16.
To date, Washington’s bullpen has an ERA of 7.02, on their way to becoming statistically the worst bullpen in the history of Major League Baseball. Somehow, someway the Nationals front office needs to find a way to fix this mess of a bullpen if they want to field a successful team.
If Washington goes the free agent route, RHP Dellin Betances, LHP Will Smith, RHP Brad Brach, RHP Jeremy Jeffress, and RHP Brandon Morrow are guys who could greatly help improve the Nationals bullpen. Washington has not been a team that has ever been willing to spend big money on bullpen arms, but after this disaster of a season that clearly has to change.
Via the trade route, Washington can try to sell off some of their somewhat valuable pieces this season, Howie Kendrick, Matt Adams, Yan Gomes, and Adam Eaton and try to acquire some young bullpen arms who can contribute next season. Young players such as Tanner Rainey, Kyle McGowin, and Koda Glover have shown promise and should get opportunities at the end of this season over veterans like Barraclough, Sipp, and Rosenthal.