The Washington Nationals are in a perplexing situation. They have lost 12 of their last 17 games, own the worst farm system in baseball, and are riddled with injuries. Despite all this, they are only six games back of the Mets for first place in the NL East.
New York also finds itself engulfed in injuries, just having placed both Francisco Lindor and Jacob deGrom on the IL. With the Mets struggling as of late, the Nationals smell blood in the water. General Manager Mike Rizzo has hinted that the Nationals can either buy or sell at the upcoming Trade Deadline.
But the National’s upcoming schedule is favorable, with matchups against the Orioles, Phillies twice, and Braves on the horizon. The National’s farm system will prevent them from making any serious noise, but if they want to catch the Mets, they will need to bring in reinforcements.
Here are the National’s three biggest trade needs if they do indeed become buyers.
Nationals Trade Deadline Need #3. Bullpen Depth
Entering the season, the Nationals bullpen was projected to be a position of strength and it started off as such. But injuries to Tanner Rainey, Will Harris, Luis Avilan, and Kyle McGowin have put a strain on those remaining. Daniel Hudson and Brad Hand have carried the backend of the bullpen, but they need help.
Kyle Finnegan, Austin Voth, and Wander Suero have had their moments this season, but they have all spent time on the IL at one point this year.
On the season, Washington’s bullpen is 19th in ERA (4.46), 18th in FIP (4.30), and 17th in fWAR (1.4). Tanner Rainey’s return will help, but that won’t be enough. With Rainey, Hand, and Hudson in tow, the Nats don’t need to splurge on a high-end closer. With teams entering a bidding war for Craig Kimbrel, the Nats should set their eyes on under-the-radar pieces such as the Marlins John Curtiss and Dylan Floro.
Bolstering the bullpen to be able to bail out the starting rotation is a need. The Nats cannot afford for any more of their relievers to be overworked.