The Washington Nationals made the first splash of the winter, signing starting pitcher Patrick Corbin last week boosting their starting rotation in the process. Now, it appears the Nationals are not finished with reshaping their rotation as they have engaged in talks to trade right-hander Tanner Roark, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
There are several factors in the Nationals wanting to move Roark before the season. The 32-year old is projected to make upwards of $10 million in 2019 through arbitration. He also is eligible for free agency at the end of 2019.
The last two seasons Roark has struggled. In 2017, he went 13-11 as a starter with a 4.67 ERA and 1.335 WHIP. Last season wasn’t much better as he went 9-15, the 15 losses the most in MLB, with a 4.32 ERA and 1.281 WHIP.
The trend shows a decline from his impressive 2016 season in which he posted 16 wins and a 2.38 ERA. So paying him upwards of $10 million may be too steep with two subpar seasons in a row. That money can be used for other resources.
The Nationals are still looking to supplement their rotation through free agency. They will enter the season boasting one of the best starting trios in all of MLB with Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Corbin. Wanting to trade Roark and still look for options on the market is signifying they want an upgrade in their fourth and possibly fifth spots in the rotation.
It appears that the Nationals are combating the possibility of losing Bryce Harper in free agency by strengthening its starting pitching. A team cannot have enough quality starting pitching, and that’s seems to be the thought process in Washington.