Sign RP Aaron Loup & RP Adam Ottavino
With the additions of Correa and Verlander, the Nationals would own two of the biggest moves of the offseason. Despite this, there are still some holes on the roster. Most notably, the bullpen needs some significant improvements.
Washington’s bullpen had the second-worst bullpen ERA in the majors last season, (5.08), blew countless games, and was wildly inconsistent. Though the Nationals did give opportunities to some of its young arms, even its veterans struggled coming out of the bullpen.
Tanner Rainey regressed immensely in 2021 after showing glimpses of being the Nationals’ closer of the future. Wander Suero also took a step back in 2021 as he struggled with his command all season long. 2020 free-agent acquisition Will Harris continued to battle injury and struggled in limited action to round out the Nationals’ bullpen struggles.
Two moves the Nationals should make to bolster their bullpen would be to sign relievers Aaron Loup and Adam Ottavino. The Nats will hope that Rainey, Suero, and Harris can get back to their consistent ways next season, but adding Loup and Ottavino would greatly benefit the back end of the bullpen.
Loup had a career season in 2021, finishing 6-0 with an ERA of 0.95, striking out 57 in 56.2 innings with the New York Mets. Should the Nationals make this move, Loup would provide a valuable left-handed arm who can set up or potentially close games if need be.
Ottavino would be an interesting signing for the Nationals as he was once one of the best relief pitchers in all of baseball. Over the last few years, Ottavino has struggled with his inconsistent play partially due to his poor command. However, when Ottavino is on, he has one of the nastiest arsenals in baseball.
The Nationals would be banking on a bounce-back campaign from Ottavino, so it’s likely that the Nats could sign him to a relatively cheap deal. Loup is expected to be a popular name on the market, so the Nationals would need to be aggressive in their pursuit should they go this route.