11:40am: The Nationals are known to be on the lookout for multiple relievers following their meteoric rise back up the standings, and ESPN’s Buster Olney writes that the team’s preference is to add a left-handed reliever. General manager Mike Rizzo won’t limit himself to only southpaws, though, and to that end, MLB.com’s Jon Morosi tweets that the Nationals are in active pursuit of White Sox righty Alex Colome and Tigers righty Shane Greene.
Washington’s interest in Greene isn’t new; it’s been reported on multiple times in the past and is also a relatively obvious match simply from a common sense standpoint. The Nationals figure to have checked in on virtually every reliever’s asking price by now, and MLB.com’s Jamal Collier recently reported that the Tigers made the sky-high ask of top shortstop prospect Carter Kieboom in initial talks with the Nationals. One can hardly blame the Tigers for aiming high, but that price point indeed seems rather lofty. Still, the fact that Washington is still showing interest suggests that the two sides could come to terms on a deal just yet.
Whether the White Sox were keen on moving Colome earlier this month wasn’t clear, but the South Siders’ poor play of late has dropped them to 10 games under .500. The club is making efforts to move beyond its rebuild and plans to make a push in 2020, so perhaps the preference is to retain Colome. Still, he’ll likely top $10MM in arbitration earnings next season, so it’d also be reasonable for Chicago to cash in if GM Rick Hahn can find a trade partner willing to make a decent offer.
Both Greene and Colome are controlled through the 2020 season, with Greene’s $4MM salary checking in considerably lower than Colome’s $7.325MM rate. As such, even though Greene is having a better season, his salary next year will likely be more affordable.
In 37 innings, Greene has posted a pristine 1.22 ERA with 10.0 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 1.22 HR/9 and a 54.3 percent ground-ball rate. Colome, meanwhile, has a rather pedestrian 7.0 K/9 mark against 2.8 BB/9 and 0.93 HR/9. Both closers have benefited tremendously from unsustainable averages on balls in play (.180 for Greene and .153 for Colome) and strand rates near 83 percent. Greene’s lower salary and superior strikeout and ground-ball rates make him to more appealing of the pair but also mean that he’ll probably come with a higher asking price. And even with some degree of regression likely for both pitchers, each is still a quality arm who’d give the Nats a much-needed upgrade to a setup corps that has been problematic all season long.