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Washington Nationals Rumors: Nats considering trying for Royals’ Jake Diekman?

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Ken Rosenthal reported on Saturday night that Royals’ left-hander Jake Diekman is one of the relievers the Nationals are considering as they attempt to upgrade their relief corps.

MLB: JUL 07 Royals at Nationals Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In a video spot recorded for FOX on Saturday afternoon, bow-tied reporter Ken Rosenthal said the Washington Nationals, who could use a bullpen addition or two, reportedly have considered the possibility of trading for Kansas City Royals’ left-hander Jake Diekman.

Diekman, a 32-year-old reliever, has a 5.06 ERA, a 3.68 FIP, 22 walks (5.30 BB/9), 54 Ks (13.02 K/9), and a .203/.339/.333 line against in 37 13 innings pitched (.182/.345/.227 vs lefties and .213/.336/.383 vs righties) in 2019.

Here’s what Rosenthal had to say:

“The Fernando Rodney experience is captivating Washington, at least for the moment, but the Nationals still want to fortify their bullpen and Royals’ lefty Jake Diekman is among the relievers they are considering. Diekman is owed less than $1M for the rest of the season, plus a $500,000 buyout, so naturally he would appeal to the Nats, who are trying to get under the luxury tax threshold.

The Nats would pay a 50% penalty, the maximum, for every dollar they are above the threshold if they exceed it for the third straight year.”

MLBTraderumors.com too noted that Diekman has less than $1M left on the 1-year/$2.75M deal he signed with the Royals back in February, which could work for the Nationals, who are at around $203M overall this season in their estimation (citing RosterResource.com’s salary information), and as Rosenthal mentioned, the Nationals are in fact determined to stay under the $206M luxury tax threshold...

Does another late-inning left-hander make sense for the Nationals’ bullpen mix? Would you prefer a right-hander? Thoughts on Diekman? He does have a $5.75M mutual option (or a $500K buyout) included in the deal he signed with the Royals... would another year make him a more attractive target for Mike Rizzo and Co. in the Nats’ front office?

HERE’S THE FULL ROSENTHAL VIDEO: