Washington Nationals Aggregate by Kelvin Herrera shows that it makes sense



WASHINGTON – Getting Kelvin Herrera is huge for the Washington Nationals. Getting it without giving up a lot is even bigger.

On the surface, it may not look like the Nats needed bullpen help urgently. Not after last summer, when general manager Mike Rizzo hit the trifecta by picking up relievers Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson and Brandon Kintzler just before the trade deadline. But many can change in a year.

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While Doolittle continues to evolve to become one of the game's elite closers, Madson and Kintzler have endured the first bumpy halves. Both relievers have spent time on the disabled list, and each currently has an effectiveness north of 4.0. Although Madson's chest strain seems to be the kind of injury that is easy enough for a pitcher to overcome, he is at an age when boos become increasingly difficult to bury (he turns 38 in August). Meanwhile, Kintzler, who is eligible to leave the 10-day disabled list later this week, is dealing with a flexed forearm strain, the type of injury that is known to lead to bigger and worse things. . As such, it is easy to see why Rizzo felt the need to reinforce the bullpen. And strengthen it did.

On the landing of Herrera of the Kansas City Royals, the Nationals obtain a two-time All-Star that has been one of baseball's most effective closers this season. Among relief pitchers with at least 25 appearances, he is among the top five in ERA (1.05) and WHIP (0.82), according to ESPN Stats & Information. His decline in whiff rate (7.7 K / 9, down from 10.8 in 2016) and the fall of the veil (his average fastball has dropped a couple of ticks to 96.4) suggests he is achieving it with a little smoke and mirrors, but the end result is he is doing it. And now he will do it for Washington.

Herrera gives manager Davey Martinez a bullpen as stacked as anyone, baduming Madson and Kintzler can get back to normal. If they can not, Herrera will end up being a pretty attractive insurance policy, especially for the price.

Despite being one of the most coveted relievers in the market, the Nationals did not have to drop any of their best prospects. The sensation of rookie Juan Soto remains. So does fellow outfielder Victor Robles, who entered this season as the No. 4 prospect in all of baseball, according to Keith Law of ESPN. Of the three players that Kansas City won in exchange for Herrera, the only one to be ranked among the top 10 prospects in Washington was outfielder Blake Perkins (No. 8).

Among relief pitchers with at least 25 appearances, Kelvin Herrera is among the best top-five in ERA (1.05) and WHIP (0.82). Nick Tre. Smith / Icon Sportswire

That's a far cry from the relievers like that Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller got a couple of years ago. Okay, Herrera does not change Chapman's game, and he does not have many years of club control on his contract like Miller did (a free agent after this season, essentially a three-month lease). Even so, it is a first-line relay to whom Washington acquired at a relatively lower price.

The agreement continues an annual pattern for Rizzo, who has acquired the help of renowned bullpen in each of the three previous seasons. Before catching Doolittle, Madson and Kintzler last year, Rizzo traded him for Pirates closer Mark Melancon in 2016. The previous year, he picked up Jonathan Papelbon from the Phillies, even though Washington seemed closer to Drew. Storen. That movement failed epically, with Papelbon choking Bryce Harper in the dugout and Storen imploding after being demoted to the installation duty. Three years later, it seems that history will not repeat itself.

"We already have an All-Star closer," Martinez said of Doolittle, who picked up his 18th save in 19 tries on Monday and boasts an absurd 43: 3 punch ratio to walk. In fact, Doolittle's position is so safe that Rizzo veered off his path to find his closer in the weight room during the second inning of the Washington makeup game against the Yankees, only to let him know that his performance was not going to nowhere. 19659002] "It was amazing that there was such transparency and that communication," Doolittle said. "And obviously, it's incredible that they're looking to help us."

As to how Herrera will help the Nationals, Martinez said that the 28-year-old right-hander "will be asked to do some different things." Presumably, that will include serving on some kind of installation role, similar to the one made by Herrera in 2014 and 2015, when he broke into the national scene and helped the Royals reach the World Series in a row.

Regardless of when and how Herrera works in his new university, however, he can not do anything to solve Washington's other problems. The Nationals, who are 3.5 games behind the surprising Braves in the National League East Division, have been surprisingly impotent on the offense, averaging just 4.2 runs per game (20th in the MLB). They could use some help behind the plate, where the catcher Matt Wieters has been out for more than a month since he suffered a hamstring injury. Even the depth of rotation is a problem, with starters Stephen Strasburg and Jeremy Hellickson on the disabled list.

But, with the speed with which Rizzo acted on Herrera's landing: offers of this magnitude do not usually go down before the calendar changes to July – and given Washington's post-season failure history, it's reasonable to badume that The Nationals have not finished playing yet.

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