“When we got down to it the best fit for us as far as financially, and more importantly prospect-wise, was to get Brandon in a trade,” Rizzo explained.
In return for the 32-year-old sinker-balling right-hander, the Nationals sent 20-year-old lefty Tyler Watson and international bonus slot money to the Twins. Kintzler gave the Nats a third late inning arm to go along with Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle, both of whom were acquired from the Oakland A’s in a pre-deadline deal.
The earlier trade, Rizzo said, took away the stink of desperation for the Nationals, who have had bullpen issues from the start this season after they failed to land a big-name closer this winter.
The deal with the Athletics, the eleventh in Rizzo’s time as GM, cost the Nationals Blake Treinen, who started the season as closer but flamed out quickly, and prospects Jesus Luzardo and Sheldon Neuse.
“We were trying to make some major deals,” Nationals’ skipper Dusty Baker told MLB Network Radio hosts Casey Stern and Brad Lidge on Wednesday, in discussing the lead-up to the deadline, “... but everybody at that point — knowing you’re in need and they want to kind of rob you, rob your minor league system. Mike Rizzo did a wonderful job of trying and succeeding the best we could without giving up half of our minor leagues.”
As Rizzo is fond of saying, however, for every deal you make, there are multiple trades you discuss that never get done.
Heyman wrote on Thursday that Hand wasn’t the only reliever the Nationals checked in on, noting that they were interested on the Baltimore Orioles’ Zach Britton, but, “... probably never had a chance for (as little as Peter Angelos wanted to trade Britton, he wanted to trade him less to the hated Nats).”
As for the rumored talks with the Padres about Hand? Heyman writes that San Diego did “come off their original ask” of either Washington’s top prospect Victor Robles or highly-regarded outfield prospect Juan Soto, but the Nationals didn’t like the idea of trading the Padres’ third target either.
“The Pads are believed willing to have talked about Carter Kieboom with the [Nats], but Washington said no.”
Rizzo and Co. in the Nationals’ front office were reportedly unwilling to part ways with Robles, Soto, or the top pitching prospect in the organization, Erick Fedde.
Kieboom, 19, was the Nats’ top pick in the 2016 Draft, a 6’2’’ right-handed hitting and throwing shortstop prospect who was ranked No. 4 overall in the system on Baseball America’s mid-season list of the Nationals’ Top 10 prospects.
Was Rizzo right to hold on to the top prospects in the organization? Would you have been okay with trading Kieboom to the Padres if that rumored deal had worked out?
Did they solve their bullpen issues sufficiently while only dealing a major league arm and three lower level prospects, none of whom were in BA’s Top 10?