Washington Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo pulled the trigger on a deal for Oakland A’s lefty Sean Doolittle and righty Ryan Madson on Sunday, but according to reports today, the Nats might not be done bolstering their league-worst relief corps.
According to a report from MLB Network analyst Jon Morosi’s sources this afternoon, Detroit Tigers’ left-hander Justin Wilson remains a reliever of interest for the current NL East division leaders.
Rizzo sent Blake Treinen and 2016 Draft picks Sheldon Neuse and Jesus Luzardo to the A’s in return for Doolittle and Madson, but he told Sirius/XM Fantasy Baseball hosts Jim Bowden and Craig Mish this morning that he’ll continue to look for deals that could help improve the roster both in the lead-up to and after the non-waiver trade deadline (July 31st).
“I think we’ve achieved what we were trying to do going into the trade deadline season, if you will,” Rizzo said.
“We’ve improved the weakest link of our ballclub, but you’re never done in this job, we all talk about the trade deadline, but things happen after the trade deadline, we’ve made good acquisitions after the trade deadline throughout the seasons, so you’re never finished, you’re always trying to improve your club.”
“We’re going to continue to work this thing through the deadline and beyond,” Rizzo continued, “... and when people ask me, ‘Are you done?’, if you’re done then you’re not doing your job, so we’ll continue to work hard, we’ll continue to be aggressive, we’ll continue to do deals that fit for us not only for ‘17, but for beyond, and we’re looking to subsidize and help a really good baseball team and trying to get some final pieces that may be on the periphery, on the fringes that might make us better.”
Wilson is not exactly on the fringes, or periphery. Through 37 appearances this season, the left-handed reliever has saved 10 games, while posting a 2.29 ERA, a 2.89 FIP, 13 walks (3.31 BB/9), and 50 Ks (12.74 K/9) in 35 1⁄3 innings pitched.
Wilson, 29, is under control through 2018, and currently playing on a 1-year/$2.7M deal that he signed this winter when he and the Tigers avoided arbitration.
Will Rizzo and Co. in the Nationals’ front office somehow be able to pry the left-hander away from the Tigers without giving up any of their top prospects (Victor Robles, Juan Soto, Erick Fedde, Carter Kieboom, and Andrew Stevenson are MLB.com’s top five)?
Or will it (more likely) take one of those top names and more as part of a package to really substantially improve the Nationals’ pen with a closer or set-up man added to the mix?