The Nationals, one of the Phillies' biggest rivals, made two moves on trade deadline day to beef up their bullpen.
Washington reportedly acquired right-handed reliever Daniel Hudson from the Blue Jays and left-handed reliever Roenis Elias from the Mariners. Neither player cost the Nats a top prospect.
Elias had been closing lately for the Mariners, saving 14 games and posting a 4.40 ERA in 44 appearances. He's been a swingman throughout his career, starting games and also appearing at the back-end of the bullpen.
Hudson, too, was converted from starter to reliever midway through his 10-year career and this season he's experienced his most success in that role. Hudson has an even 3.00 ERA in 48 innings with 48 strikeouts and just five home runs allowed.
The Nats also acquired right-handed reliever Hunter Strickland from Seattle.
The Nationals' bullpen was a total disaster the first two months of the season and still has the worst ERA in the majors. The two setup men they signed to be the bridge between their elite rotation and elite closer Sean Doolittle were hard-throwing righties Trevor Rosenthal and Kyle Barraclough.
Rosenthal, who cost the Nationals $7 million, allowed 16 runs and 15 walks in 6⅓ innings before being let go and latching on with the Tigers.
Barraclough has a 6.66 ERA and was sent to the minors.
Every move the Nationals make is relevant to the Phillies because Washington (57-50) is just a half-game better than the Phillies (56-50). Based on their recent, prolonged surge and the talent level of their roster 1 through 25, the Nationals figure to be one of the two NL wild-card teams. If the Phillies play well enough to claim the other spot, they would likely be facing one of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg or Patrick Corbin in the one-game playoff. Won't be easy.
Braves get better
The Braves reportedly added one of the top available relievers, Tigers closer Shane Greene, along with Mark Melancon from the Giants.
Greene has been excellent this season with a 1.18 ERA, 0.87 WHIP and 22 saves in 25 chances.
The Braves have lacked a true lockdown ninth-inning option and Greene is much closer to that than Luke Jackson.
Melancon has a 3.50 ERA this season and 183 career saves.
Roark to the A's
In a separate move, the Athletics reportedly acquired veteran rental starting pitcher Tanner Roark from the Reds. A Roark trade was always seen as likely and became imminent once Cincinnati acquired Trevor Bauer from the Indians late Tuesday night. The Phillies also had some interest in Roark but chose instead to acquire lefty Jason Vargas from the Mets.
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