Washington (AP) The trade of two relievers to the Chicago Cubs has sparked a bidding war on the open market.
But the deal for Jason Castro could be just as significant for the Washington Nationals, who have been eyeing Castro since he was a 23-year-old in 2012.
Nationals owner Ted Lerner has said he would like to add another reliever in the near future.
Castro’s salary was set at $2.5 million last season.
The Nationals have not made a major move on relievers since July 1, and they need another piece in the bullpen, including pitching prospect Jordan Zimmermann and left-hander Zach Duke, who are both arbitration eligible.
The Nats are also working to acquire right-hander Jake McGee, who is eligible for arbitration.
Bryce Harper, Bryce Harper’s former manager, has also expressed interest in Castro, but the Nationals have expressed no interest.
Washington signed pitcher Matt Garza to a minor league deal with a club option for 2018, but he has not played in the majors since 2013.
Garza signed a three-year, $27.5-million deal in 2014 with the Angels and spent two seasons in the Padres’ system before making his major league debut in 2017.
Garezas age and experience are similar to Castro.
They both have a strong arm and a good changeup.
Garzeas fastball sits in the mid-90s and has averaged 93 mph in 2016 and 91 mph in 2017, so he could fit right in at the Nationals.
Bryce Dreeben, who has pitched for five different teams in three different leagues, pitched a career-high 1.56 innings with four strikeouts in a relief appearance in the National League Division Series against the Cubs.
The right-handed reliever, who pitched for three different teams from 2008-12, has an excellent curveball and has a solid changeup that could complement his fastball.
Dreebec also has a fastball that can touch triple digits and a slider that could be used as a weapon, but Washington has yet to add to its arsenal.
The left-handed Dreebs slider sits in between 92 and 95 mph.
The National League wild card game in Chicago will be the final game of the season, which means the Nationals will host the Chicago White Sox.
The White Sox are looking to make a late push to get to the Nats’ Series against them.
If the Nationals win that game, they will clinch a wild card spot.