Three Free Agent Relievers the Nationals Can Add Before Spring Training

Miami Marlins v Washington Nationals
Miami Marlins v Washington Nationals / Greg Fiume/GettyImages

Bullpen depth is essential to any team, contender or not. The Washington Nationals organization and their fans are all too familiar with that. We see teams scavenging for any and all relief depth every trade deadline. The Nats are used to being one of the teams that try to add to their bullpen, but this year we could see them on the other side. There are a number of relief pitchers that still find themselves on the free agent market, with many of them easily being good enough to be on an opening day roster. The Nationals currently find themselves with a relatively strong bullpen, but you can never have too much depth in your bullpen. Here are three names the Nats should look into adding as they go into spring training and the 2023 season.

1. LHP Andrew Chafin

Andrew Chafin
Minnesota Twins v Detroit Tigers / Duane Burleson/GettyImages

It's a mystery to me how Chafin is still a free agent, although his reported asking price might have something to do with it. First of all, he's a left handed reliever, something that is extremely valuable in today's game. Secondly, he's a really good left handed reliever. Chafin appeared in 64 games for the Tigers last season, posting a 2.83 ERA and 1.169 WHIP across 57.1 innings. The most impressive part of his 2022 campaign was the fact he pitched better against right handers than he did against lefties, and yet he was still elite against left handers. Chafin held left handers to a .233 average and a .664 OPS, while righties hit only .214 with a .585 OPS. Numbers like that would make a Chafin an extremely sought after trade deadline candidate. The Nationals need to make this move ASAP and add an extremely valuable left hander to their 'pen, which is the one area of their bullpen they really need to address.

2. RHP Michael Fulmer

Michael Fulmer
Toronto Blue Jays v Minnesota Twins / David Berding/GettyImages

Michael Fulmer is a former starter turned reliever that found much more consistent success when pitching in a relief role. Fulmer pitched exclusively from the pen last year for both the Tigers and Twins, finishing the year with a competitive 3.39 ERA and 1.366 WHIP. He can both deal quality innings out of the back end of the 'pen and throw some long relief every now and then. Just like Chafin, Fulmer could easily become an attractive asset at the trade deadline for the Nats.

3. RHP Alex Reyes

Alex Reyes
St Louis Cardinals v Pittsburgh Pirates / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

Reyes is still only 28 and couldn't pitch in the 2022 season due to an injury. Nevertheless, he impressed many in 2021, being named to the All Star team and throwing to the tune of a 3.24 ERA and a 1.355 WHIP. It was a bit of a shock when the Cardinals let him go this offseason, and he certainly has the potential to turn it around and become a core of the Nationals bullpen.

Relief pitchers are extremely valuable assets every major league season as they can quite easily make or break a team's season. Having a lockdown three headed monster in the back end of a bullpen can be a difference maker throughout the stretch of the regular season and into the playoffs. Even if the Nationals won't be contenders in 2023, they can certainly aid one with any of these guys if they sign one or more of them. While there are many other relievers still available that would be well worth signing, these three guys jump out as the ones with the most upside. With spring training just about 3 weeks away, the Nats should snag one of these guys off the free agent market and add depth to their pen.