Washington Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo told reporters last night that teams started calling him to ask about Tanner Roark after the Nats signed Patrick Corbin to a 6-year/$140M free agent deal earlier this month.
“When we signed Corbin teams thought that we had a little bit of a surplus so they inquired about Roark,” Rizzo explained, “and the teams [were teams] that look favorably on a one-year guy that could help them, so we’ve spoken to a couple of teams about it and nothing serious or imminent that’s happening at this point.”
Twenty-four hours (or so) later, Roark has been traded to the Cincinnati Reds in return for right-hander Tanner Rainey, a 25-year-old reliever who put up a 2.60 ERA, a 3.47 FIP, 36 walks (6.23 BB/9), and 65 Ks (11.25 K/9) in 45 games and 52 innings pitched for the Triple-A Louisville Bats in 2018, making eight appearances out of the bullpen for the Reds, and giving up 13 hits, 12 walks, and 19 runs in seven innings in the majors.
Rizzo said last night that if they were going to consider trading Roark, they’d likely have to add an arm to the mix along with starters Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Corbin, and whichever pitcher earns one of the other available spots in the rotation, with Erick Fedde, Joe Ross and others battling for the fifth spot.
“I think that we would certainly want to reinforce our rotation,” he said.
“We’re always talking about depth, and to eliminate a pitcher like Roark, we would certainly like to strengthen that strength if we were to make a deal for him.”
Ken Rosenthal wrote on Twitter this morning that the Nats weren’t sure Roark’s performance in 2018 justified the $9.8-$10M he is projected to get in arbitration this winter.
Roark, 32, finished (9-15) in 31 games and 30 starts last season, posting a 4.34 ERA, a 4.27 FIP, 50 walks (2.50 BB/9), 146 Ks (7.29 K/9), and a .262/.319/.422 line against in 180 1⁄3 IP, earning $6.475M on a one-year deal after he avoided arbitration with the Nats last January.