Nats make first move, solidify bullpen with trade for Kelvin Herrera

Yahoo Sports
The Nationals picked up <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/players/9089/" data-ylk="slk:Kelvin Herrera">Kelvin Herrera</a> in a trade with the <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/teams/kan" data-ylk="slk:Royals">Royals</a>. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
The Nationals picked up Kelvin Herrera in a trade with the Royals. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

The Washington Nationals were not willing to wait until the trade deadline to get better. The team made a big move Monday, acquiring reliever Kelvin Herrera in a trade with the Kansas City Royals, according to our own Jeff Passan.

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Who is Kelvin Herrera?

Herrera is a 28-year-old reliever who has been a standout for the Royals over the past couple seasons. Since 2014, he’s posted a 2.58 ERA in the majors. He’s made the All-Star team twice over that period.

Herrera had a disappointing year in 2017, posting a 4.25 ERA. That looks like an outlier now. He’s rebounded to post a 1.05 ERA through 25 2/3 innings in 2018.

Herrera will be a free-agent following the season. He’s merely a rental for now.

What does Herrera do for the Nationals?

Herrera gives the Nationals a deeper bullpen. At this time last season, the team’s relievers were a major weak point. General manager Mike Rizzo went out and got Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle at the deadline, giving the Nationals some much-needed help at the end of games.

Herrera adds to that. He should take on a late-inning role in Washington, D.C. With Madson struggling this season, Herrera could serve as an option in the eighth inning. Herrera also has closer experience, so manager Dave Martinez could get him a few saves on occasion.

What did the Royals get?

The Royals received three prospects for Herrera.

As Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post noted, none of those players are among the Nationals’ elite prospects.

What does this mean for the Royals?

It means they are willing to sell off anything of value to re-build. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, though their willingness to make moves now caught a lot of people off guard.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

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