The Washington Nationals made a move to further strengthen their bullpen today as they acquired reliever Kelvin Herrera from the Kansas City Royals. In exchange, the Royals acquired third baseman Kelvin Gutierrez, centerfielder Blake Perkins, and pitcher Yohanse Morel. The teams have both confirmed the move.
We have acquired 3B Kelvin Gutierrez, OF Blake Perkins and RHP Yohanse Morel from the Washington Nationals in exchange for RHP Kelvin Herrera. pic.twitter.com/QC5MkkvLJS
— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) June 19, 2018
Washington Nationals Acquire Kelvin Herrera
Herrera spent his entire MLB career with the Royals up until this trade. He was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2006. He would wait for 5 years before making his major league debut working his way through the Royals’ farm system. In his time in the minor leagues, along with fellow prospect Wil Myers, represented Kansas City in the 2011 Futures All-Star Game. In his time in Kansas City, Herrera represented the Royals in two MLB All-Star Games as well, in 2015 and 2016. He also was a part of the 2015 World Series Championship team. While mostly used as a seventh-inning reliever, after the Royals traded incumbent closer Wade Davis in 2017, Herrera won the closing job. That year, Herrera would convert 26 out of 31 save opportunities. This year so far, he has converted 14 out of 16 save opportunities.
Gutierrez, a 23 year old infielder who has been used at third and first by the Nationals, has played in 58 games for the Nationals’ AA affiliate. He has hit a .274 batting average with 5 homeruns and 26 RBI. Washington signed Gutierrez as a free agent in 2013, and was ranked as their 10th best prospect by MLB Pipeline.
Griffin, a 21 year old centerfielder, has played in 65 games for the A+ team of the Nationals. Griffin has hit a .234 batting average with 21 RBI. He was drafted in the 2nd round by the Nationals in the 2015 June Amateur Draft. He was ranked the the Nationals’ 11th best prospect by MLB Pipeline
Morel, a 17 year old starting pitcher, has only played in one game for the Nationals organization in the Dominican Summer League.
While the Nationals still had to give up a fair amount for someone who will hit the free agent market at the end of the season, they were able to strike this deal without giving up any of their top prospects. And this makes the back end of their bullpen very interesting. With the addition of Herrera, they now have four closer capable relievers in Sean Doolittle, Brandon Kintzler, and Ryan Madson. Although Kintzler is on the disabled list currently, manager Dave Martinez will have to work out who will be the closer for his team. And Kintzler’s injury also will make things interesting once he comes back. As a result of this trade, the Nationals have lots of flexibility on the back end. None the less, Herrera makes the Nationals a better team, and their bullpen even scarier than it already was.
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