Report: Nationals in the market for a closer

Dusty Baker

With a huge lead in the National League East, it’s safe to say that the Washington Nationals are going to be buyers as the MLB trade season heats up.

Something they’d like to secure is a solid closer. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Nats have discussed many options.

“They have spoken internally about many possibilities, though, including Kansas City Royals closer Kelvin Herrera, Tampa Bay Rays closer Alex Colome, San Francisco Giants closer Mark Melancon, Miami Marlins closer A.J. Ramos, and Toronto Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna,” Heyman reported.

He also mentioned Chicago White Sox closer David Robertson as someone “very likely to become available and perhaps makes the most sense.”

It’s hard to dispute that Robertson makes the most sense. He’s signed through 2018, which is also the last year of Bryce Harper’s contract. After 2018, the team could have a radically different look and acquiring someone with a contract that reflects it only makes sense.

On the other hand, Ramos would be the hardest of that group to acquire, at least if we apply general logic. Trades within a division are rare, although Washington did deviate from that when it acquired Jonathan Papelbon from the Philadelphia Phillies in 2015.

Melancon’s time in Washington in 2016 would make him a good fit, as well. The issue there is that he just signed a four-year $62 million dollar deal with San Francisco, although the last two years of that are player options. The Giants have been terrible through 2017. But even if we assume that they’re out of playoff contention, they’ve generally been contenders (or better) through the decade. Logically, that would make San Francisco a little less likely to sell its veterans in the middle of a single bad season.

Robertson and the other American League closers, though, would all make sense. Osuna could be something of a tough get but Robertson, Herrera, and Colome will all be highly sought after through the trade deadline.

In all three cases, Washington is a logical destination.

The Nats have blown eight saves, tying them with the Blue Jays and Texas Rangers for baseball’s sixth-highest total.