After the rocky season Daniel Hudson had, I think it is fair to say the Washington Nationals should be looking to bolster the back end of the bullpen in free agency.
When was the last time the Washington Nationals had a true closer for the entirety of his stay with the team? Let’s backtrack a little.
Sean Doolittle lost his job to Daniel Hudson. Jonathon Papelbon took the closer’s role from Drew Storen, then gave way to Mark Melancon. Storen took over for Rafael Soriano mid-season. In 2012 Tyler Clippard was your closer, but so was Henry Rodriguez, and Drew Storen, and Brad Lidge. Matt Capps had the reins for a while, but then Storen took his job as well. Does anyone else feel like the Nationals played head games with Drew Storen? What about the Jon Rauch/Joel Hanrahan duo, you remember that?
Going all the way back to 2005, I think Chad “The Chief” Cordero is the only closer to legitimately end his tenure with the Nationals in the same role he started in. He may have held the title longer too, had an injury not derailed his career.
Hudson did well with the job in the World Series year, though stumbled quite a bit this past season. He had five blown saves and an ERA of 6.10 and while he was “the man” in 2019, Hudson doesn’t have a track record as a closer. I like Daniel Hudson and want him to be a part of the bullpen next season, just in a different role.
While I do think the Washington Nationals have their closer of the future on the roster in Tanner Rainey, I think we can look at a few of the options on the free agent market as well.