Having acquired both Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle from the Oakland A’s earlier this month, Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies he thought the hard work of bolstering Washington’s bullpen was mostly done.
“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.”
According to reports last night, the Nationals were one of the teams still in the mix for Justin Wilson before the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs agreed on a deal for the 29-year-old left-handed reliever:
The remaining suitors for Wilson are the Cubs, Dodgers, Astros and Nationals, I'm told.— anthony fenech (@anthonyfenech) July 31, 2017
Having missed out on Wilson, the Nationals reportedly turned their attention to Zach Britton, the Baltimore Orioles’ left-handed closer.
with cubs sneaking in to grab wilson, still have dodgers, astros, nats eying britton. o's want big (chapman/miller like) return. could keep.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 31, 2017
The problem there, as Heyman mentioned, is the return the Orioles are expecting... and the fact that Baltimore and Washington are, you know, not exactly on friendly terms.
About that return? According to Heyman, “the Orioles are said to be seeking a package that includes a very top prospect — no surprise considering the deals the Yankees made last year for Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller — but there’s no word yet that anyone’s come close to meeting the price.”
In the Chapman deal with the Yankees last season, the Cubs traded shortstop Gleyber Torres, who was ranked No. 1 on Baseball America's list of the Cubs' top prospects, outfielders Billy McKinney (No. 7 on BA's list) and Rashad Crawford, 22, who was described Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman at the time as a "lottery ticket" in search of consistency, and Adam Warren, a starter/reliever with major league experience.
As Heyman noted, the Yankees received, “... top prospects Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield,” along with 24-year-old right-hander J.P. Feyereisen and 25-year-old right-hander Ben Heller, “... in the Miller deal, setting a standard for superstar relievers.”
“Based on the asks,” Heyman wrote, “rivals say the Orioles have signaled to teams that they seek something above what the Yankees got for Chapman but not quite what they got for Miller.”
With Rizzo and Co. in the Nationals’ front office reportedly reluctant to deal any of the Nats’ top prospects, Victor Robles, Juan Soto, or Erick Fedde, who made his MLB debut on Sunday, will they be able to add an impact arm to the back of their bullpen before this afternoon’s non-waiver deadline?
Heyman also wrote that O’s owner Peter Angelos, “... has sold only once (2000) in his long reign as Orioles owner,” and when it comes to the Nationals, “the feud with the Orioles could provide an ‘additional challenge,’ according to an MLB source.”
Will the Nationals add a starter with concerns about Strasburg, and Edwin Jackson and Erick Fedde filling out the rotation right now?
With Madson and Doolittle added to the bullpen, and the possibility of adding relievers like Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover to the mix at some point, is that enough, or do the Nationals need to bolster the relief corps. Can they supplement from within (Wander Suero? Or maybe Fedde if Strasburg returns to the rotation)?
Howie Kendrick’s addition gives the Nats an option while they wait for Jayson Werth and Michael A. Taylor to return and a bench upgrade when they do, so is that it for position players?
We’ll keep you updated as the 4:00 PM EDT non-waiver deadline approaches today... and see if Rizzo can find “prudent” deals or upgrades.