WASHINGTON -- It had seemingly become an offseason tradition, with the Nationals searching for a closer or trying to shore up a bullpen that had more question marks than answers. But now, Washington has its most stable bullpen situation at this point in years. It already made one move to
WASHINGTON -- It had seemingly become an offseason tradition, with the Nationals searching for a closer or trying to shore up a bullpen that had more question marks than answers. But now, Washington has its most stable bullpen situation at this point in years. It already made one move to bring back Brandon Kintzler, re-forming the dynamic bullpen trio -- alongside Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson -- acquired midseason in 2017 to help close out games. Washington's bullpen looks like it will be a strength this season, after entering past campaigns as a question mark.
MLB.com is taking a look at the projected bullpen of all 30 teams ahead of Spring Training. Here's how the Nationals stack up:
BULLPEN IF SEASON STARTED TODAY
Sean Doolittle, LHP
Ryan Madson, RHP
Brandon Kintzler, RHP
Shawn Kelley, RHP
Koda Glover, RHP
Sammy Solis, LHP
Enny Romero, LHP
The trio of Doolittle, Madson and Kintzler should once again be a strength for Washington next season, helping the Nationals shorten games and secure victories. Each pitcher comes with closing experience, and each is comfortable in interchangeable roles -- giving the Nats flexibility to use each of them depending on the matchup.
Health will be the biggest issue for Nationals' relievers, several of whom already have a history of injury issues in the past. Washington is hoping to get some sort of production from both Koda Glover and Shawn Kelley, after a difficult 2017 campaign saw them bouncing on and off of the disabled list. Both pitchers have arsenals good enough to impact games in the late innings and in high-leverage situations, though the Nats have the luxury of incorporating them into different roles to lessen the workload on their arms. If they are healthy and prove themselves to be reliable, Glover, Kelley, and Sammy Solis could provide a huge boost to the Nats 'pen.
WHAT MIGHT CHANGE
There might not be many changes to the bullpen from now until the start of the season. After re-signing Kintzler, the Nats felt good about entering the season with their current group of relievers. The one area they are likely to explore is depth -- trying to cover for potential injuries to some of their relievers with injury histories. But the Nats seem to have made their major splash on the relief market already and believe they have the pieces in place for a successful bullpen.
Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.