Forget the hot stove — there are possible trades and transactions surrounding the Nationals at this juncture of the offseason that have turned it into a scorching stove. And, according to a recent report, things could get even more intense in the coming weeks.
Jayson Stark of ESPN wrote on Monday that, in addition to looking at bringing in big-name relievers like Darren O'Day and Aroldis Chapman, Washington is also interested in getting rid of a few bullpen pieces of their own: Jonathan Papelbon and Drew Storen.
"Clubs the Nationals have spoken with say they're trying to remake the back of their bullpen by trading both of the men who closed for them last year," Stark said. He then cited a conversation he had with a team official who said the rest of the league knows that GM Mike Rizzo wouldn't mind trading Papelbon, even though Rizzo has said otherwise in the past.
As for the possible market for the two right-handers? According to Stark, one American League executive speculated that the Nats wouldn't get much more than "a very minor prospect" if they traded Papelbon, while a National League executive said he'd "put [Storen] in the eighth inning every day and pay him good money to do it." But Stark added he was unsure whether people would be comfortable with using the 28-year-old as a ninth inning finisher.
Since Washington made the move to acquire Papelbon on July 28 and essentially replace a thriving Storen with him, the two have been linked. Now, it looks like the franchise that had hoped they'd form a formidable duo in the later innings on a night-to-night basis wants to part ways with both of them. We'll have to wait and see whether they're able to find a partner willing to make up the other half of a deal, though.
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