The Nationals will likely go into a trade deadline buyers instead of sellers once again this season. It’s actually quite a miracle that the Nationals are buyers after starting the season 19-31. The Nationals pulled off the best turnaround in Expos/Nationals history and have sole possession of first place in the wildcard standings.
The Nationals have obviously had their problems in the bullpen and the fifth starter role after a few decent starts by Erick Fedde and two good but likely unsustainable starts from Austin Voth. The Nationals will likely add a bullpen piece or two before the deadline and could even add a fifth starter to get them over the hump come August into September.
The Nationals have obvious bench depth so hitting won’t be an issue. Look for the Nationals to add a pitcher or two.
Here are some relief targets that can help the Nats down the stretch:
Reliever Will Smith – San Francisco Giants
An extra lefty could force the Nationals to place Matt Grace, Tony Sipp or Jonny Venters on waivers but it might be worth it for the pending free agent Will Smith. Smith is having a career year with the Giants racking up 22 saves for the struggling ballclub.
In 34.1 innings Smith has posted a 2.10 ERA and an astonishing 13.9 K/9 ratio. Smith is able to face both righties and lefties, which would be an upgrade from any of the aforementioned relievers.
Potential trade package: No. 5 prospect LHP Tim Cate and No. 9 prospect OF Gage Canning for LHP Will Smith.
Kirby Yates – San Diego Padres
The 32-year-old Yates has been nothing short of excellent for the Padres since the 2018 season pitching to a 1.83 ERA in 100 games split between the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
Yates currently leads the leagues in saves this season with 27 and has racked up 39 total since becoming the Padres full time closer last season. Yates has racked up 14.3 K/9 this year while allowing less than a base runner an inning.
Yates is controlled through the 2020 season which is unfortunate for the Nats because they would have to give up more if they were to acquire Yates at the deadline. But the Nats might be willing to pay that cost if that means they’re able to shore up the struggles in the 8th inning.
Potential trade package: No. 5 prospect LHP Tim Cate, No. 12 prospect SS Jose Sanchez and No. 30 prospect OF Justin Connell for RHP Kirby Yates.
Shane Greene – Detroit Tigers
Shane Greene has had a great bounce back season with the Tigers after struggling during the 2018 season. After recording a 5.12 ERA in 2018, Greene has bounced back to pitch to a 1.09 ERA in 33 games and has recorded 22 saves for the Tigers.
Like Yates, Greene is controlled through the 2020 season but wouldn’t likely require as large of a trade package as Kirby Yates would due to the lack of strikeouts that Greene has recorded. Greene has only recorded 34 strikeouts in 33 innings this season.
Instead of using strikeouts to get outs Greene finds success using the ground with a 52.5% ground ball rate.
The Tigers are still in the midst of their rebuild and will likely take any young talent they can acquire.
Potential trade package: No. 12 prospect SS Jose Sanchez and RHP Wander Suero for RHP Shane Greene.
Check back tomorrow for our starting pitching trade targets!