After he traded Brandon Kintzler to the Chicago Cubs for minor league righty Jhon Romero in the one non-waiver deadline move he made (in addition to adding Kelvin Herrera in mid-June), but before he made the decision to designate Shawn Kelley for assignment (before eventually trading him to the Oakland A’s), Washington Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo talked to 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies about the bullpen depth on the roster that led him to make the decisions they did last week.
“There was a lot of reasoning for trading Kintzler,” Rizzo explained.
“One was that our bullpen depth has really grown since we acquired him, and signed him as a free agent. We’ve got a big three back of the bullpen with [Sean] Doolittle, [Ryan] Madson, and Herrera. We’ve got great bridge guys with Justin Miller stepping up the way he has and Matt Grace pitching the way he has. We’ve got Wander Suero who we believe has earned a chance to get to the big leagues and has pitched wonderfully when he’s been up in the big leagues and great when he’s down in the minor leagues, so he’s earned a spot.”
“We’ve got Koda Glover,” he continued, “a guy that we really like and is going to be a good big league pitcher for us back from rehab, so he’s an option for us. We’ve got a kid named [Jimmy] Cordero down there [at Triple-A] that throws 100 mph that’s really taken the next step up, so we may see him soon. So we have great depth.
“We got ourselves some financial relief not only in 2018, but in ‘19 to allocate towards the ‘19 team with the movement of [Kintzler], and also we got ourselves a good, strong-armed relief pitcher, a young kid that’s throwing the ball extremely well that our scouts really liked.”
Romero, 23, is the young kid the Nationals’ scouts liked.
He put up a 3.27 ERA, a 2.61 FIP, 17 walks (3.48 BB/9), and 57 Ks (11.66 K/9) in 44 IP at High-A in the Cubs’ system. He was assigned to High-A Potomac in the Nationals’ system.
Cordero, 26, posted a 1.67 ERA, a 2.72 FIP, 21 walks (4.40 BB/9), and 47 Ks (9.84 K/9) in 38 games and 43 IP at Triple-A Syracuse before he was called up after Kelley was DFA’d, and Kelley was dealt to the Athletics on Sunday (along with cash) for international bonus slot value.
Glover, 25, was assigned to Triple-A Syracuse after dealing with a number of injuries over the last few years, and working his way back from shoulder inflammation which led to the reliever getting shut down early this Spring.
Doolittle has been on the Disabled List with a stress reaction in his foot since July 6th, and manager Davey Martinez said Sunday there’s still no timetable for his return.
With all that in mind, the Nationals have reportedly, or are reportedly close to signing right-handed reliever Greg Holland, who put up a 7.92 ERA, a 4.56 FIP, 22 walks (7.92 BB/9), and 22 Ks (7.29 K/9) in 32 appearances and 25 innings for St. Louis after signing a 1-year/$14M free agent deal with the Cardinals this winter.
Holland cleared waivers after he was designated for assignment by the Cards.
Fancred’s Jon Heyman wrote on Sunday night that a deal was done. Washington Post beat writer Chelsea Janes, who was first to report that the sides were talking, hadn’t confirmed the completion of a deal as of late last night.
Assuming a deal happens, Heyman wrote that the Nationals have the depth to let Holland try to get things sort out in low-leverage situations until they can see what they have in the veteran reliever and former Kansas City Royals and Colorado Rockies’ closer.
When the Nationals get Doolittle back, Martinez is going to have all the options he needs, but there is also depth, and relievers with history closing as they wait for the southpaw to heal up enough to return.