In a year where the Nationals were supposed to run away with the National League East, a lot has gone wrong. They have been bit by the injury bug all year with Adam Eaton, Daniel Murphy, and others all missing significant time. Bryce Harper has been hitting home runs and drawing walks, but large portions of the rest of his game have taken steps back as well.
However, despite those issues, they remain in the hunt for a division crown. Max Scherzer has been among the best pitchers in the game (again) this season and rookie Juan Soto has given their offense a real spark at a time when it was desperately needed due to the aforementioned issues with injuries.
Now, it looks like they are making their move to improve their bullpen.
Source: The Kansas City Royals have traded closer Kelvin Herrera to the Washington Nationals. @JonHeyman said it was close.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 18, 2018
Kelvin Herrera has long been rumored to be among the prizes of this season’s trade market. The Royals are not going anywhere this season and Herrera has been outstanding for Kansas City with a 1.05 ERA, 2.62 FIP, and striking out 7.71 batters per 9. The Nationals had the 13th most productive bullpen in MLB based on fWAR before the trade. That is likely to improve significantly with the addition of Herrera.
Many teams were thought to covet Herrera as many contenders are in need of bullpen help, but it appears that the Nationals put together the best offer.
Nats will get Herrera for a couple minor leaguers/prospects from royals. not soto/robles, but good ones.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) June 18, 2018
No word yet on the prospects involved in the deal, but just because the Nationals do not appear to including top prospects Victory Robles or Juan Soto in the deal does not necessarily mean that Kansas City won’t be getting significant value in return as the Nationals have a wealth of young talent, especially in the lower minors.
The Royals will be receiving prospects Blake Perkins, Kelvin Gutierrez, and Yohanse Morel in return for sending Herrera to the Nationals.