The Washington Nationals have been poking around the market looking for a top-tier relief pitcher and indications are they have talked to the Cincinnati Reds about Aroldis Chapman and the San Diego Padres about Craig Kimbrel, according to Jayson Stark of ESPN.com.
The Nationals current closer, Drew Storen, is no slouch, so this shouldn’t be indicative of his performance. He has been one of the best closers in the game this season, as he has 29 saves to go along with a 1-0 record, 1.73 ERA and 44/9 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Adding either Kimbrel or Chapman would move Storen to the eighth inning, which would give the Nationals an elite duo of relievers to close out games.
Kimbrel, 27, was acquired by the Padres in a late offseason deal with the Atlanta Braves that shocked the world. Even though Kimbrel hasn’t been his usual dominant self, he still has been very good, posting a 1-2 record with 28 saves, a 2.82 ERA and 55/15 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Chapman, 27, is arguably the best closer in the game. Before writing this article I asked a couple players about their thoughts on Chapman and one of them quickly responded with the fire emoji. Having Chapman and Storen close out games pitched by Max Scherzer, Jordan Zimmermann or any one of their pitchers would be virtually unfair. That said, the Reds’ asking price for Chapman is three “higher-level prospects in return,” Stark adds.
Acquiring either pitcher will be tough, as Stark notes that the Nationals have told other clubs that they have no interest in trading top prospect, Lucas Giolito, along with Trea Turner or Wilmer Difo. If the Nationals want to acquire either reliever, they are going to have to be creative.
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