The Washington Nationals have contacted the Kansas City Royals about the availability of closer Wade Davis. The Nationals are looking to strengthen the back-end of their bullpen for a potential World Series run as Jonathan Papelbon is the only player on the current roster with experience working late in postseason games.
Davis is 1-0 with a 1.14 ERA and 21 saves in 2016, but was forced into a stint on the 15-day disabled list with an arm strain back on July 1. Wade has been essentially untouchable since transitioning from a starter to a full-time reliever in 2014 with the Royals. In 2014, Davis went 9-2 with a 1.00 ERA and 0.85 WHIP and followed that up in 2015 with a 0.94 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, and 17 saves.
The defending World Series champion Royals currently sit at 48-47 and are eight games behind the AL Central-leading Cleveland Indians and three-and-a-half games behind the Houston Astros who currently hold the final Wild Card spot in the American League. FanRag Sports‘ Jon Heyman reported on Friday that the Royals could turn into sellers at the MLB Trade Deadline if things don’t turn around in the next week.
With Papelbon set to become a free agent at the end of the 2016 season, the Nationals would fill their need for a closer for the 2017 season with Wade Davis as well as improve the team’s current chances of making, and advancing, in the 2016 National League Playoffs. Davis has a $10 million team option for the 2017 season that would no doubt be picked up by Washington if a deal were to be made.
According to Heyman, the Nationals have found the Royals’ asking price to be higher for Davis than the Yankees’ asking price for Aroldis Chapman. That largely has to do with the fact that Chapman is a free agent after the 2016 season. Washington has interest in the Cuban flamethrower in New York, but is in the process of doing their due diligence on every closer on the trade market.
The Nationals’ top-ranked prospects are pitcher Lucas Giolito, infielder Trea Turner, outfielder Victor Robles, and pitcher Reynaldo Lopez, but the team is reportedly not willing to give up any of those four players in a deal for Chapman, according to MLB Trade Rumors. It’s unclear if Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo would consider dealing one of those players in any deal for Wade Davis.
The Royals Review, which is SB Nation’s website dedicated to the Kansas City Royals, tweeted that close to MLB ready pitchers A.J. Cole or Austin Voth could be players that interest the Royals’ front office in any trade for Davis.
Many may look at the stats and see that the Nationals have the lowest bullpen ERA in MLB at 2.87 and wonder why the team would be looking at adding a reliever like Wade Davis. It’s due to the postseason inexperience of the Nationals’ current relievers. Papelbon and Oliver Perez are the only bullpen mainstays that have pitched in the postseason.
As we’ve seen from him in past seasons, expect Rizzo to make a move prior to the August 1 trade deadline. Whether it’s Wade Davis, Aroldis Chapman, or someone else, the Nationals’ general manager will spare no expense to set his team up for a potential World Series run.
[Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images]