It has long been evident that this was a make-or-break season for Cole, who the organization long felt would be a major-league contributor. He was given a shot at a rotation spot out of camp but lasted only two starts and two relief appearances before the team was forced to make a move.
Cole’s once bright star had already ebbed over recent seasons, as he continued to spend more of his time at Triple-A than in the majors. He reached the highest level of the minors in 2014 and cracked the bigs in the following campaign, but has thrown only 110 total MLB frames.
A major factor in Cole’s lack of chances was the fact that the competing Nationals couldn’t simply give him innings without concern for how they went. Perhaps the leash would’ve been longer this year, though, were it not for the fact that the Nats have endured a tepid opening few weeks that have left them looking up at three teams.
With a need for fresh relievers, there just wasn’t more time to let Cole work through his early struggles. Make no mistake, they were pronounced. He paces the N.L. with a whopping six home runs allowed in just 10 1/3 innings and has coughed up 15 earned runs.
Torres, meanwhile, is a sturdy veteran pen arm who is capable of pitching multiple innings. The 35-year-old, who joined the Nats organization on a minors deal just before the start of the season, has thrown more than fifty MLB innings in every season since the 2012 campaign and has a 3.73 ERA in 449 total innings in that span. He has thrown five scoreless and hitless innings at Triple-A thus far in 2018.