Washington Nationals add bullpen depth with Kyle Barraclough.
As soon as the last out of the regular season was recorded, the Washington Nationals told the world that they would start their return to prominence in the NL East by addressing their bullpen woes, which kept them from winning their third consecutive division title, and fourth in five years.
The team announced last week that they started their get-well plan by trading for right-handed reliever Kyle Barraclough from the Miami Marlins, who received international bonus money for the pitcher, in their pursuit of a trio of international free agents led by Victor Victor Mesa and his brother.
Barraclough, 28, has been in the majors for four seasons.
While Barraclough’s arrival is not the kind of big splash signing that Nats fans may expect, his presence will provide the Nationals with a steady arm that has no considerable health issues. In his four years in the majors, Barraclough has only been to the disabled list twice, both times for no more than 10 days and spread over two seasons.
Barraclough had a great first half of the regular season in 2018 by allowing only four earned runs in his first 37 appearances, including a stretch of 20 2/3 innings in which his opponents didn’t score a single run. However, he stumbled towards the finish line and closed 2018 with a 4.20 ERA. Despite his shaky last few months of the season, opposing hitters only batted .197 against him, showing that he can be a reliable reliever.
Barraclough also finished second and eighth place in holds in the National League in 2016 and 2017, respectively, which is indicative that he can perform at a high level given the right situation.
Perhaps, also enticing for the Nationals was the fact that Barraclough will be under team control through the 2021 season. He is eligible for arbitration this offseason after making $1.1 million with the Marlins in 2018.
The Washington sports media expects the Nationals to pick up Sean Doolittle’s club option, which means that Barraclough will probably fit into a set-up or seventh inning role and won’t have to dive straight into a high-leverage situation.
The coming weeks should show a little bit more of the Nationals’ hand as they continue to navigate the offseason.
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