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White Sox, Nationals at ‘stalemate’ in David Robertson talks

It still makes too much sense for a deal not to get done, but the two clubs have hit an unspecified snag in their negotiations.

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MLB: Chicago Cubs at Chicago White Sox Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, we learned that the Nationals and White Sox were talking about a deal for David Robertson to become the new closer in the nation’s capital. Bob Nightengale and Luis Ortiz, of USA Today, however, report that the two clubs have reached a stalemate.

It’s unclear what the holdup is, as the Nats have a clear need and Robertson is a unique fit for that need. He’s a strikeout machine who has been a successful closer (85 percent success rate) for the last three years and who is only under contract for the next two years, at which point Washington’s competitive window is probably closed. And a closer not terribly useful for a White Sox club who plans to play terribly in 2017.

The Nats have fallen short in all their efforts to bring in a closer this offseason, losing out on Mark Melancon, Kenley Jansen, and Aroldis Chapman. They couldn’t even get Brad Ziegler, who signed a very reasonable two-year deal with division rivals in Miami. Their biggest moves to bring in relievers this offseason have been minor league deals handed out to Joe Nathan and Matt Albers.

In the end, it’s likely that the Nats and Sox will find an arrangement that works. Robertson, while a good reliever, is not going to bring back the return someone like Chapman fetched last year. And the Nats are right to hold the line a little bit and make sure they hold on to Victor Hansel Robles, one of the top 10 prospects in baseball. But the two clubs just need each other too much for something not to happen before Opening Day.