Tanner Roark was traded which greatly changes the #Nats payroll but also leaves a hole to fill!

Photo by Marlene Koenig for TalkNats

For Tanner Roark, he will not have to be looking over his shoulder anymore as his rumored trade became reality tonight at the Winter Meetings. Roark was traded straight-up for Cincinnati Reds pitcher Tanner Rainey who last appeared for the Reds minor league Triple-A  affiliate in Louisville. Rainey received a 2018 call-up and had six forgettable games for the Reds of his eight MLB appearances in the mid-summer. The righty reliever did have a 2.65 ERA for Louisville last year and could figure into the Nats plans in 2019. He takes Roark’s 40-man spot.  Rainey is a fastball and slider pitcher with an 11.5 K/9 for Louisville. 

From yesterday, we wrote: “Update to this piece I was told by a source that had insight on a team that has talked to the Nats about Roark has told me that Roark would be available now for the right deal which could be eating his entire salary, lotto ticket, etc.. I guess we are back to the “right deal” but it sounds like Rizzo could trade Roark before he acquires a new pitcher.…” — Ghost of Steve M. http://disq.us/p/1y22v82

News broke earlier yesterday in a very public way that Tanner Roark was available for trade. While TalkNats wrote about the rumors, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan put it up on a tweet, and yet Tanner Roark responded after he was traded that he was “surprised”. Was Roark following the news on MLB Network or Twitter?

“I think we would certainly want to reinforce our rotation [if we trade Roark],” general manager Mike Rizzo said yesterday. “We always talk about depth, and to eliminate a pitcher like Roark, we would certainly like to strengthen that strength, if we were to make a deal for him.”

While Roark was a popular player on the team, he just was not effective putting the Nationals in the win column. While wins and losses do not fall solely on the pitcher of record, Roark led the Majors in losses in 2018 at 15, and he had 12-games where he gave up 4 or more runs of which seven of those games he did not get past the 5th inning.

The worst case scenario for the Nationals was that they would have to cut Roark and eat approximately $1.63 million of his salary, but they got the best case where the Reds absorbed his full salary making him the fourth highest paid player on their team trailing Joey Votto, Homer Bailey, and most likely Scooter Gennett. The Reds lost 95 games in 2018 and needed a pitcher who could eat innings and keep their bullpen fresh. There was not a Reds pitcher who reached the 170 inning mark last season which made Roark a great fit from a workhorse standpoint. 

For the Nats, they clear $10 million in salary to spend elsewhere, and there is great value to that as they look to add most likely two new starters and a versatile left-handed batter who can play second base. Technically, the Nationals are now $31 million under the $206 million CBT limit, but in actuality the Nationals have potential incentives that could be due which will lower that $31 million to something closer to $24 million.

The Winter Meetings wrap up on Thursday with the conclusion of the Rule 5 Draft. The Nationals have several players exposed today.

Here are the Rule 5 exposed players as compiled by Sao Magnifico: Jakson ReetzDrew Ward (#29 prospect), Ian SagdalAldrem CorredorAndruw MonasterioDavid MastersGilbert LaraHunter JonesTelmito Agustin (#13 prospect), Austin DavidsonRhett WisemanAlec KellerTyler MapesLuis Reyes (#23 prospect), Joan BaezTomas Alastre (#24 prospect), Malvin PenaJordan MillsAndrew IstlerJohn SimmsDakota Bacus,  Taylor GuilbeauSteven Fuentes.

Noticeably on that Rule 5  list are former high draft picks, international signings, and some recent acquisitions like Andruw Monasterio who was acquired from the Cubs in the Daniel Murphy trade, and Andrew Istler who was the player received in the Ryan Madson trade with the Dodgers. Guilbeau was on the Arizona Fall League roster and gave up the walk-off home run in the championship game. Most of these Rule 5 players will never make it to the majors, but a few still have potential and just need some more time to shine.

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