I don’t normally write during the week or after a game as I’m usually super pissed or very happy and neither is a good place to write from but I’ll make an exception for a big night like this one.
Yes, going to the Nats-Yankees games is super frustrating because unfortunately Yankees fans were their usual boorish selves and Nats fans didn’t stay in the game (this is occasional problem is probably a separate post). But during the game this rather big news leaked:
So , Who is This Guy
Herrera is the Closer for the Kansas City Royals, he’s really good. Throws the ball 96 miles an hour and has a 1.05 ERA and 14 saves with which translates to “this guy is a phenomenal reliever having a good year”. He also has an ERA + of 402 which means that is throwing 302 percent better than an average reliever because he puts very few guys on base Even accounting for the fact this number can shift quickly for relievers it’s really good..
A High End Reliever, I Thought we had the Lawfirm of Kintzler, Madson and Doolittle?
We do and they are all generally good but Kintzler and Madson have both been on the disabled list this year and Doolittle has an extensive injury history from his Oakland days, combine this with his current pace for record innings and you have a recipe for disaster. Having Herrera gives the Nats the option of reducing Doolittles usage to avoid the fairly regular 3 times in 4 days or 3 days in a row that have happened several times this season for lack of a better option.
Also it is literally impossible to have enough pitching. Always acquire more pitching, no matter the cost. You will eventually need it.
How Will he be used?
Hard to say exactly, but you can assume that while Kintzler is on the DL he will appear anywhere between the 7th and 9th inning depending on who is available and game situation. It’s also pretty likely he will get a decent amount of save opportunities as a secondary closer to try and avoid having quite so many days where Doolittle is explicitly unavailable due to heavy workload . Also while I would never explicitly advocate for moral hazard, Herrera is a free agent after the season so him getting a bit of extra mileage isn’t as risky for the Nats long term (though shitty for him).
Isn’t Our Current Problem Hitting and an Inability to Advance Runners?
Yes and it’s frustrating but there isn’t much you can do when a lineup of guys like Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy justs straight up can’t hit (or in Murphys case tonight, hits a double 1 at bat too late). . Whether or not this team can advance will in large part be based on the ability of these players to get it together but having 4 very good relievers (Doolittle, Kintzler, Madson, Herrera) and several acceptable ones (Justin Miller, Sammy Solis, Matt Grace) to handle meaningful innings gives them a chance to protect tight leads while the offense figures itself out, which looks like it might be happening soon after putting elite closer and shit person Aroldis Chapman on the ropes tonight.
What’d we give and did we get fleeced
Because Herrera is a free agent after this year he didn’t command the same kind of high end return that Madson and Doolittle did (as both came with multiple seasons attached) the Nats didn’t have to give up any of the crown jewels. Specifically, we sent 3B Kelvin Gutierrez, Outielder Blake Perkins and righty pitcher Yahanse Morel. Depending on who you listen to the players are either highly flawed (Gutierrez and Perkins have great gloves and speed but can’t hit worth anything, Morel is young and too hard to project out) or diamonds in the rough (Gutierrez has great defense , Perkins is young and learning to switch hit and has elite speed , Morel absolutely has the stuff in his pitches). This is a classic example of the team (Kansas City) having different evaluations that the public lists. As I’ll discuss in a separate post, sometimes these lists miss truly dominant players or underrate the guys who do make (in what world you Aaron Judge not be the top prospect anymore?). The other factor at play here is the Nats have a long list of prospects flipped that eventually turned into high level major leaguers even when they weren’t top 10 guys (Robbie Ray, Nick Pivetta, Brad Peacock) that increasingly seems to make teams willing to trade with them for better hauls.
Anyways it’s exciting and I look forward to seeing whatever they try next. I’m off to bed.