The Nationals were reportedly looking at a reunion with Tyler Clippard before the Athletics traded him to the Mets tonight, but there’s a chance they could do something a lot bigger to strengthen the back-end of their bullpen.
According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Nationals are the “hottest” among teams for Padres closer Craig Kimbrel. The team has also reportedly been linked to Reds closer Aroldis Chapman. With that in mind, Rosenthal was told by a friend of Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo that he would “almost bet my house that he will do something big.”
The Nationals already have an All-Star closer with Drew Storen, who has posted a 1.73 ERA and 44/9 K/BB ratio over 36 1/3 innings this season while going 29-for-31 in save chances. However, the bridge to the ninth inning for Washington has been shakier than in previous seasons. If the Nationals were to acquire Kimbrel or Chapman, Storen could be moved back into a set-up role.
Kimbrel, 27, has posted a 2.75 ERA and 55/15 K/BB ratio over 39 1/3 innings this season while compiling 29 saves. He’s owed $24 million from 2016-2017 and his contract includes a $13 million club option or a $1 million buyout for 2018. It would be a costly acquisition, but he’s still one of the top closers in the game and the Nationals have the kind of payroll to bring him aboard.
Interestingly, Rosenthal also confirmed that the Padres asked the Nationals about prospect shortstop Trea Turner in talks for Kimbrel. They were shot down. Of course, the Padres dealt Turner to the Nationals as a player to be named later in the three-team Wil Myers trade.
Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon is a strong possibility to be dealt by next Friday’s non-waiver trade deadline, but there’s a chance he could stay in the National League East.
According to FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi and Ken Rosenthal, the Nationals have had trade talks with the Phillies about Papelbon. Washington is reluctant to take on significant payroll during the season, but the thought is that Philadelphia might be willing to cover a large part of his remaining salary (he’s making $13 million this season) in order to get a deal done. However, there’s one big issue which could keep this thing from happening.
Papelbon’s contract includes a $13 million option for 2016 which vests if he finishes 48 games this year. He’s just 14 away right now and Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com hears that he won’t sign off on a deal unless he’s in a position to get his money.
It’s hard to blame the guy. Of course, the Nationals already have an excellent closer in Drew Storen, who has posted a 1.73 ERA and 44/9 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings this season while going 29-for-31 in save chances. Clearly they are looking for additional late-inning help, but Papelbon might not be the best fit. Perhaps his opinion could change if the option is guaranteed as a condition of the deal and the Phillies pick up most of the tab.
Papelbon, who has been vocal about his desire to be traded to a contender, owns a 1.59 ERA with 40 strikeouts and eight walks over 39 2/3 innings this season. He’s a perfect 17-for-17 in save chances for the last-place Phillies.
It was a rather exciting contest for one that took two days to play, but the Nationals held on to beat the Dodgers 5-3 after Friday night’s game resumed Saturday afternoon.
In the top of the ninth, Joc Pederson barely pulled foul his bid for a go-ahead, three-run homer before Drew Storen closed it out.
Pinch-hitter Matt den Dekker hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth to give the Nationals back their lead after Adrian Gonzalez hit his second homer of the game and first of the day in the top of the sixth, tying the game at 3-3.
The game last night was halted three times because of issues with a bank of lights down the left-field line, forcing play to be resumed today.
Both pitchers on the mound when play ended Friday continued on today. Tanner Roark gave up Gonzalez’s game-tying homer in the sixth. Chin-Hui Tsao allowed two runs in the fifth last night, but he pitched a scoreless sixth today.
The Dodgers and Nationals will play their regularly scheduled game at 4:05 EDT. They’ll both be able to add a 26th player for that one as a result of the semi-doubleheader today.
The Nationals are set at closer with Drew Storen having a terrific season, but they’re still searching for late-inning bullpen help, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports. Among Nationals relievers who have tossed at least eight innings, only one pitcher — lefty Matt Thornton — has an ERA below 3.70.
Aroldis Chapman is one of the Nationals’ targets, and they’ve reportedly talked to the Reds about a trade, though nothing is close, per Morosi. Chapman has had another terrific year, going 12-for-13 in save situations with a 2.30 ERA and a 45/17 K/BB ratio over 27 1/3 innings. He and Storen would make for a terrifying one-two punch at the back of the bullpen. The Nationals, by the way, finished second in bidding for Chapman back in 2010, as James Wagner of the Washington Post points out.
Two months into the 2015 regular season, reliever Rafael Soriano is still a free agent. He wants to sign with a team and has dropped agent Scott Boras in an effort to expedite that process, James Wagner of the Washington Post reports.
Soriano, 35, struggled in the second half last season and was booted from the closer’s role by Nationals manager Matt Williams, giving way to Drew Storen. Despite his ouster, Soriano wasn’t all that bad, finishing with a 3.19 ERA, 32 saves, and a 59/19 K/BB ratio in 62 innings. One would think he could be an upgrade for at least one team out there if not as a closer, then simply as bullpen depth.