Six Off the Radar Reliever Trade Candidates

As you may have heard the Nationals are looking for bullpen help. And not just closer help like in years past, no they need an entire bullpen of new pitchers. However, picking up a handful of the top trade candidate relievers would be very expensive in total. The Lerners love prospects and do not like expensive, so Mike Rizzo and the Nationals front office will likely have to get a bit creative to bring in the stock they need.

So, my goal today is to find some relievers who can fill in admirably in a middle innings (think 6/7th) role for the Nats without breaking the bank. These guys are so far under the radar as to be completely off it.

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Fixer Upper: The Nats Bullpen House

The Nationals have a bullpen problem. You didn’t need me to tell you that. If you have a vague awareness that the Washington Nationals are a baseball team then you know that they have a bullpen problem. The question, with the Nats rolling to a 21-10 start and 6.5 game lead on the New York Mets, is how big of a problem is it?

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The Real Nats Bullpen Problem

The Nationals have a bullpen problem, but likely not the one you've been reading about for the past three months. No, they have a pretty good internal option for closer, the problem is they have few reliable relievers beyond that and time's running out to acquire some.

The closer? Shawn Kelley of course, who put up another sneaky great season and can count himself among the better relievers in baseball.

When I rate relief pitchers the two main stats I look at are strikeout rate and walk rate, big indicators that can stabilize over a smaller sample size. They're also the two main objectives for a reliever, get guys out without giving up run opportunities and keep guys off the bases. I consider the ERA and FIP secondary for relief pitchers since they can often get lucky in limited appearances. Finally, I check three more stats to see how fluky the numbers are: swinging strike rate and contact rate to see how well they can miss opposing bats and average leverage index to get an idea of the pressure they pitched under.

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