The daily discussion among Nationals fans is the Nats need for a shutdown closer. The media has covered some of the names, but nobody has discussed that there does not seem to be a playoff calibre team in the division lead who needs a closer except for the Nationals. There could be some need among the Wild Card contenders like the Diamondbacks.
Last year there was a major need for closers at the trade deadline and the Yankees capitalized and traded Andrew Miller to the Cleveland Indians and Aroldis Chapman to the Chicago Cubs. The Nationals snagged Mark Melancon from the Pittsburgh Pirates and the San Francisco Giants didn’t get the top closer they coveted. Each team paid dearly for their acquisitions.
In 2015, the New York Mets traded for Yoenis Cespedes and it was transformative to their team and line-up. There were Mets fans who thought Cespedes should be considered for the NL MVP with just his 2 months of service time in the NL that season.
Many times the trades do not work out for the acquiring teams and that seems to play into the adage that “the best trades you make are the ones you don’t”.
The good news this year is it looks like all the postseason teams all have closers with the exception of the Arizona Diamondbacks who have Fernando Rodney but could turn to internal options. The good news is that the Nationals could be the only team in search of a bona fide closer.
Here is a snapshot of the current contenders and their current closers:
American League contenders
☑️ Boston: Craig Kimbrel
☑️ Indians: Cody Allen + Andrew Miller
☑️ Astros: Ken Giles
☑️ Yankees: Aroldis Chapman + Dellin Betances
☑️ Royals: Kelvin Herrera
☑️ Twins: Brandon Kintzler
☑️ Rays: Alex Colome
National League contenders
Needs can certainly change in the next few weeks leading up to the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline, and then this can continue into the month of August as trades are made on waiver-trade claims.
If the Rockies fall out of contention for instance, they will most likely trade Greg Holland who holds an opt-out clause for next season.
Analyzing the teams that are out of the playoff picture, you start getting names like David Robertson, Mark Melancon, Raisel Iglesias, A.J. Ramos, Santiago Casilla, Roberto Osuna, Edwin Diaz, and Zach Britton just to name a few. Then you have some of their teammates who are currently set-up men who can close like Doolittle, Madson, Brach, Cingrani, and Black. Some of them will not be traded, but some could be moved and supply and demand will determine the cost to the acquiring team.