Washington was busy at the trade deadline, as they acquired three new relievers to help their porous bullpen. Daniel Hudson was brought in from Toronto, while Roenis Elias and Hunter Strickland came from Seattle in separate trades. General Manager Mike Rizzo detailed his decisions as such, “These aren’t the sexiest names in the trade market, but we think we got good quality, reliable bullpen guys with some moxie and some experience. We’ve got guys who’ve accumulated a lot of saves in the past, we’ve got a couple of controllable relievers for not only this year, but for the foreseeable future, and the player return was something was something that was acceptable to us.”
The team’s bullpen ranks last in the entire league in ERA. So any average pitcher will be a huge increase over what the team is currently using. Here is a look at Washington’s newest relievers.
Hudson is 6-3 with a 3.00 ERA, 48 strikeouts and 23 walks in 48 innings pitched. His K/9 rate is slightly up from 8.61 last year to 9.00 this year. He has only allowed five home runs this year and has a FIP of 4.21. Hudson will be relied on to handle the eighth inning and hold the lead for Sean Doolittle. Rizzo will need to be sure not to overwork Hudson as he has suffered from injury problems in the past. Hudson isn’t the biggest acquisition, but he will get the job done.
Mike Rizzo wanted another lefty and he got him in the form of Roenis Elias. This season Elias is 4-2 with a 4.40 ERA, 45 strikeouts and is 14/16 in save opportunities. Rizzo will want to use him as a lefty specialist, but this year Elias is having reverse splits. This year lefties are hitting .353 against him and have an OPS of .990. Righties, however, are hitting .182 against him and have an OPS of .579.
Elias is under control for two more years and will be a step above incumbents Tony Sipp and Matt Grace. He will primarily pitch the sixth and seventh innings, but will also close games when Doolittle needs a night off.
Washington fans are familiar with Strickland from his brush up with Bryce Harper back in 2018. Harper hit two home runs off of Strickland in the 2014 NLDS. Strickland was still pretty upset about that and in 2018 he hit Harper with a pitch and all hell broke loose.
Now Strickland is with Washington and just added an extra layer to the future matchups against the Phillies. This year Strickland has barely played due to a Grade 2 strain of his right lat muscle he suffered early in the season.
For his career, Strickland owns a 2.98 ERA with 214 strikeouts, a 3.44 FIP and a .227/.296/.347 slash line against him. Strickland pitched a scoreless inning for Seattle since returning from the IL. He will compete with Elias, Wander Suaro and Fernando Rodney to pitch the sixth and seventh innings. Strickland, like Elias, has multiple years left on his contract. If he can return to his early form, then Washington got a hidden gem.
Washington went out and fixed an issue and fortified the bullpen for the stretch run. Now it is time to see how the newest toys work out.
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