FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal reported last week that Washington GM Mike Rizzo and Co. in the Nationals’ front office were continuing, “to discuss a trade with the [Chicago] White Sox for veteran closer David Robertson, according to major-league sources.”
“Robertson is owed $12 million this season and $13 million next season,” Rosenthal wrote, “creating an all-too-typical Nats obstacle.”:
“The team does not want to absorb Robertson’s entire obligation, and does not want to move additional prospects after parting with three young pitchers for [Adam] Eaton, sources say.”
The deal for Eaton sent the Nationals’ top two pitching prospects [Lucas Giolito and hard-throwing right-hander Reynaldo Lopez] and their 2016 first-round pick [right-hander Dane Dunning] to the Sox to get their everyday center fielder.
According to an early December report by USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale, the Nationals tried to get Robertson included in the Eaton trade, but the White Sox refused to include the 31-year-old reliever, who saved 37 in 2016 and posted a 3.47 ERA, a 3.58 FIP, 32 walks (4.62 BB/9) and 75 Ks (10.83 K/9) in 62 1⁄3 IP.
Nightengale too is reporting tonight that the White Sox and Nationals continue to talk about a deal for Robertson, “... and looked like they were close to sealing the deal last week, but there’s still no trade.”:
“The White Sox remain optimistic a trade will be consummated. But a high-ranking Nationals official, speaking on condition of anonymity because talks are ongoing, says the two sides have hit a stalemate and no trade is imminent.
“It might just be a matter of who blinks first.
While noting the presence of Blake Treinen, Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover and the fact that the Nationals could turn to an in-house option and then trade for a closer for the third straight summer if they need to in July, Nightengale asks the same question that Washington Post writer Barry Svrluga did in an column last week:
“Do you trust one of them [Treinen, Kelley or Glover] to be the man to secure the Nationals’ first back-to-back division titles?”
“How can a team with expectations of competing for the sport’s most important prizes enter the season with such a glaring question mark?” the WaPost’s Svrluga asked in his look at the Nationals’ bullpen.
As much as the Nats have said they are comfortable with their in-house options, they have continued to pursue a number of closers this winter and they are still talking to the White Sox as pitchers and catchers get ready to report on Tuesday.
Will there be a new arm in the organization by the time they do?
“The Nationals could take the gamble,” of going with a reliever they already have on the roster Nightengale wrote tonight, “but all signs lead to a Robertson trade before the start of the season.”