It has long been rumored that the Washington Nationals may trade one of their backend relievers at the end of the year. As things have not worked as expected in the later innings, the Nationals are almost left with no choice but to move one of Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard, or Rafael Soriano.
The National’s top reliever has undoubtably been Tyler Clippard, making him someone the franchise wants to keep for the future. Clippard has an ERA of 2.21 and has succeeded in every situation the Nationals have put him in. As the bullpen’s rock, Clippard belongs in Washington for years to come and the Nationals would love to move him back into the closer’s role in the future.
The National’s second trade option is 7th inning man Drew Storen. Storen has struggled mightily this year and even spent a couple of weeks in AAA Syracuse. He seemed to fix his delivery during his stent there and has since improved. Storen’s adjustments make many within the Nationals organization believe he can continue to pitch well and be a consistent end of the game pitcher along with Clippard for many future years.
That only leaves one more future trade candidate, current closer Rafael Soriano. Soriano signed a 2-year, $28 million deal this past offseason, which could hinder a future deal. He has not lived up to lofty expectations but due to his oversized contract the Nationals have not pulled Soriano from the closer’s role. It appears that the Nationals do not want to admit that they payed $14 million a year for a setup man caliber pitcher. Even with the large contract, the Nationals will probably eat a good portion of his current deal and move him during the offseason.
Mike Rizzo is faced with a decision this coming offseason. Will he trade a reliever, and if so, who will it be? All signs currently point to Soriano being traded but this will not be done until after the offseason. The Soriano signing is one Rizzo would like to forget, and the trading of him will help Rizzo forget sooner rather than later.