Asked about the possibility of the Washington Nationals adding to their bullpen even after this past weekend’s deal with the Oakland Athletics for relievers Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson, Nats’ GM Mike Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s The Sports Junkies on Wednesday that another move was always a possibility though he said he thought the trade with the A’s addressed the Nationals’ biggest need.
“I think that we’ve done most of our heavy lifting for the trade deadline,” Rizzo said, “but that’s not to say that if there’s a value that we feel can help us that we wouldn’t be aggressive like we always are and attack that and try to improve ourselves.”
Adding Doolittle and Madson to the mix, however, removed some of the desperation on the Nationals’ end.
“I think that Ryan and Sean are the big pieces that we were looking for,” Rizzo continued.
“These guys fit for us, like I said, perfectly, it balances our bullpen, one left-handed, one right-handed, it also gives us bullpen options not only for the remainder of this year, [but] for next year with Ryan and Sean and beyond with Sean after that.”
“We really like the trade,” Rizzo added, “and it was something that came together rather quickly with Oakland and I after talking for a while, but I think it’s a good baseball deal for both sides, and it was something that — it’s never easy to give up good young players, but to get the type of bullpen help that we needed, with these types of people, I thought it was an important thing for us to do.”
But as Rizzo said, that doesn’t mean they won’t make another deal if there is a good one to be had...
Sources: #Nationals among teams in mix for #Tigers' J. Wilson. Won't move Robles, Fedde, Soto. #RedSox, #Dodgers, #Astros, others also in.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 20, 2017
Rizzo and Co. in the Nationals’ front office avoided dealing away Victor Robles, Erick Fedde, Juan Soto, or any of the top five prospects on most lists or the organization’s top talent in the deal with the A’s, though both prospects sent to the Athletics were highly-regarded inside the organization and outside of it.
Holding firm on the likes of Robles, Fedde, and Soto, however, the top pitching and position players in the system, makes sense, especially after the Nationals dealt two of the top-ranked pitching prospects, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez, along with 2016 draft pick Dane Dunning in the deal for Adam Eaton this winter.
With Dunning going to the Chicago White Sox, and Jesus Luzardo and Sheldon Neuse going to the A’s along with Blake Treinen, the Nationals have now dealt three of their top four picks from the 2016 Draft, with only top pick Carter Kieboom still part of the organization.
Will they be able to compete in the market for Wilson and the other high-end arms and hold on to Robles, Fedde, and Soto though?
There’s still considerable talent in the system outside of those top three, and with the likes of Kieboom (No. 4 on MLB Pipeline’s list of the Nats’ top prospects), Andrew Stevenson (No. 5, and mentioned by Rizzo recently as a potential late season call-up this year), Austin Voth (who’s struggled and dealt with injuries), Pedro Severino (same as Voth), and others (think Drew Ward, Rafael Bautista), they could put together an impressive second-tier prospect package, but will it compare to what the other teams in the mix for Wilson or the other big ticket relievers are willing to offer?
AUDIO: #Nats Nightly w/ @DNicholsSR on #Nationals' 7-0 loss to the #Angels; Alex Meyer; 2011 Draft class + bullpen: https://t.co/PKLn6rzP8F— federalbaseball (@federalbaseball) July 20, 2017