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Washington Nationals

Heyman | Nationals begin exploring market for a closer

24 August 2016: Washington Nationals relief pitcher Blake Treinen (45) hands the ball to manager Dusty Baker (12) at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. where the Baltimore Orioles defeated the Washington Nationals, 10-8. (Photograph by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire)
(Photograph by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire)

The Washington Nationals have begun making calls now for closer, and while they haven’t found anyone who’s immediately available, David Robertson is very likely to become available and perhaps makes the most sense.

They have spoken internally about many possibilities, though, including Kansas City Royals closer Kelvin Herrera, Tampa Bay Rays closer Alex Colome, San Francisco Giants closer Mark Melancon, Miami Marlins closer A.J. Ramos, and Toronto Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna.

They had Melancon last year, and tried to get him back before he went to the Giants, who gave him a big signing bonus.

They are one of many teams that likes the Padres’ Brad Hand, but the closer is the first order of business.

The Nationals have had five different relievers save games this season. Shawn Kelley and Blake Treinen have three saves each, Matt Albers and Koda Glover have two saves each and Enny Romero has one. Free agent signing Joe Blanton has allowed 13 runs in 12.1 innings and just went on the disabled list.

The Nationals hold a sizable lead in the NL East and appear ready to run away with the division. Washington enters Thursday with an 8.0-game lead over the Atlanta Braves, who may have lost Freddie Freeman for an extended period of time with a wrist injury, a 9.0-game lead over the New York Mets, and double-digit lead over the rest of the division.

At 25-14, Washington owns the best winning percentage in the National League.

But the Nationals have goals that stretch far beyond the NL East, and shoring up the 9th inning appears to be high on the priority list.

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