The Blue Jays need bullpen help. We know this. Being that their 2014 closer, Casey Janssen is testing the free agency market and not likely to return, Alex Anthopoulos is looking to fill the back end of the ‘pen. The Yankees went and did what the Yankees do and spent a lot of money. This time, they plucked highly coveted reliever Andrew Miller off the hot stove. While taking that option away from other teams, they may have also set the value for relievers.
If 4 years and $36M is the going rate for a high quality arm on the open market, that could make the trade route more appealing. If the Blue Jays find the price of relief arms too high, they could look to upgrade via trade. According to Ken Rosenthal, one such quality arm that is “likely” to be available is Washington’s set-up guy, righty Tyler Clippard.
Rosenthal says that the Nats have plenty of right handed relievers and are facing the possibility of paying Clippard big money ($8-$9M) in arbitration a year before he hits free agency. Also, Rosenthal points out that the pitcher closest to him statistically is current free agent, and soon to be very rich, David Robertson.
Obviously, this is an arm the Blue Jays would LOVE to have. They have said previously that they could give the closer’s role to someone who is not seen as a closer, but has had some closer experience. It is worth noting that in 2012, Clippard saved 32 games. He is coming off an All Star year where he posted a 2.18 ERA and a 0.995 WHIP.
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If Clippard can be compared to Robertson, then the asking package can be expected to be pretty high. We know that the Blue Jays are trying to unload Dioner Navarro. His 2014 season and $5M price tag look quite appealing. But, Washington currently has Wilson Ramos and Jose Lobaton. They do not appear to need catching help. Even if they did, it is unlikely that Navarro would be enough to get this deal done.
The fact of the matter is the Washington Nationals are one of the deepest teams in baseball. They do not really have a glaring area of need. But, according to Bill Ladson of MLB.com, the Nats have several players entering the final year of their contracts and are looking to hit free agency. That means, they may be more willing to listen on trades. Ladson points out that Clippard wants to be a closer. The Blue Jays need a closer. But, the list of Nats needs as presented by Ladson do not really lineup with Toronto.
They need bullpen help. No luck for the Blue Jays there. They need second base help. Strike two! They need bench help. They Blue Jays don’t really have bench players to spare. Check swing foul. Wait a minute. Ladson tells us that Lobaton was part of a bench that combined to hit .144. Could they see Navarro as an option?
Honestly, it would be a stretch to see this trade working out. Even if the Nationals agreed to it, the cost to the Blue Jays would be too high. They’d be paying the high arbitration salary for one year AND giving up Dioner Navarro. There are cheaper ways to fill the bullpen.