Washington Nationals’ General Manager Mike Rizzo confirmed the obvious when he spoke with MLB Network Radio’s Mike Ferrin, Jim Duquette, and Jim Bowden on Friday afternoon, telling them that the Nationals were in the market for relief help, and controllable relievers in particular, as the 2019 Trade Deadline approaches.
“When you’re giving away the assets that you have to give away at the trade deadline, you kind of like to get a little bit of control in the players that you acquire,” Rizzo explained.
“So we’ll be looking towards that, like everybody else in baseball is,” he said, “trying to get controllable assets that can help us this year and beyond, but I think that we’ve pretty much with our play have made it clear that we’re going to try to acquire some talent to help us win this year and beyond and we can do that in several different categories, and we’ll see what leads us to the best outcome and helps this team take the next step.”
Mike Rizzo on the trade deadline: "We're going to try to improve our club."— MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (@MLBNetworkRadio) July 19, 2019
OK, let's try that again.
Mike Rizzo on the trade deadline: "Our priority is going to be pitching, probably bullpen."@Nationals | #Nationals | #OnePursuit pic.twitter.com/litadiyAhb
“Our priority is going to be pitching,” he reiterated at another point in the interview.
“Probably bullpen arms that can give us some veteran leadership and possibly shorten the game up for our starting rotation.”
Citing those comments, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal wrote on Twitter that two names came up as pitchers of interest for Rizzo and Co. in the Nationals’ front office:
#Nationals GM Mike Rizzo spoke on @MLBNetworkRadio about acquiring controllable players. Per sources, team is interested in #Tigers’ Shane Greene and #SFGiants’ Sam Dyson, two relievers who fit that description. Both under control beyond this season. Others also on list.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 20, 2019
MASN’s Roch Kubatko previous reported that the Nationals had a scout in Baltimore to look at right-hander Mychal Givens, and Rosenthal mentioned the Royals’ lefty Jake Diekman as a pitcher of interest for the Nationals last weekend.
Givens, 29, avoided arbitration when he and the Orioles agreed to a 1-year/$2.15M deal back in January, and he’s under team control through 2021.
He’s put up a 4.34 ERA, a 4.59 FIP, 3.86 BB/9, and 12.54 K/9 in 37 1⁄3 IP so far in 2019.
Diekman, 32, signed a 1-year/$2.75M free agent deal with Kansas City over the winter which includes an option for 2020 (at $5.75M). The left-hander has a 4.89 ERA and a 3.61 FIP, with 5.35 BB/9 and 13.27 K/9 in 38 2⁄3 IP this season.
Greene, 30, signed a 1-year/$4M deal for 2019 and is under control for 2020 before he hits free agency. He’s put up a 1.03 ERA, a 3.54 FIP, 2.57 BB/9, and 9.51 K/9, saving 22 games in 35 appearances and 35 IP.
Dyson, 31, agreed to a 1-year/$5M deal with the Giants this winter, and is arbitration-eligible again for 2020. The right-hander has a 2.68 ERA, a 2.67 FIP, 1.15 BB/9, and 8.81 K/9 in 47 IP.
Are Rizzo and Co., assuming there’s any truth to the names being bandied about in these reports, looking at the right names as they try to solve the bullpen issues they’ve had this season? Any other names you’d like to see them going after before July 31st?