MLB trade rumors: Nationals still looking at relievers, including Justin Wilson
On Sunday, the Nationals swung a deal with the Athletics for two relievers, lefty Sean Doolittle and righty Ryan Madson. It doesn’t appear that the deal made Nats general manager Mike Rizzo content with his current bullpen situation, though, and reports on Monday indicate that his is not done attempting to deal for bullpen help.
The Nationals entered Monday’s matinee in Cincinnati with a 9 1/2 game lead in the NL East. Of course, they also carried an embarrassing 5.31 bullpen ERA, good for last in the NL. Even a decade ago, that would’ve been a big problem, but given how much increased importance has been placed on having multiple studly late-inning relievers in recent years in the postseason, the Nationals’ going out for at least three new relievers makes a ton of sense.
Digging even deeper, the Nationals have won the NL East three of the last five years, but they’ve lost in the NLDS each of those three years. Bryce Harper is a free agent after next season while players like Ryan Zimmerman and Daniel Murphy are getting up there in years. Quite simply: The Nationals’ best chance to win the World Series could well be 2017. So Rizzo needs to leave no stone unturned.
Wilson, 29, is having a very good season for the Tigers. He has settled into the role of closer after the K-Rod debacle, saving 10 games in 11 chances with a 2.29 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and 50 strikeouts in 35 1/3 innings.
If Rizzo pulled of a deal for Wilson, he’d have three back-end options with experience at closer for manager Dusty Baker to sort through. Perhaps Koda Glover (back and rotator cuff injuries now) returns in late August or early September, too. His numbers overall look horrible, but that’s thanks in part to two meltdowns out of three outings in June, including one when he was pitching hurt and just hadn’t told the Nats. Through May, Glover had a 2.08 ERA with 16 strikeouts against two walks in 17 1/3 innings.
So that’s definitely something for Nats fans to dream on, with that outstanding offense and playoff rotation of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Tanner Roark and Gio Gonzalez. Also interesting is that Morosi reported Rizzo is seeking a starting pitcher in addition to a reliever. The rumor mill churns on!