While the Washington Nationals gave up a top prospect in Billy Burns to get left-hander Jerry Blevins from the Oakland Athletics, it’s a trade that makes more and more sense with each passing deal reached by free agent arms the Nationals were targeting.
It has everything to do with finances. Over the two years that the Nationals will control Blevins, he’ll make an estimated $4 million total. That is way cheaper than pitchers on the market were going for. Both J.P. Howell and Boone Logan will make at least triple that amount annually over the life of their respective contracts.
That also explains why the Nationals waited as long as they did to get a left-handed reliever. Many bloggers and experts, including myself, put that at the top of their to-do list, but it was the third move of their offseason. Prior to trading for Blevins, they traded for Doug Fister and signed Nate McLouth. Looking back, the Nationals were taking time to feel out the market and come to a decision on what to do.
As I’ve already outlined earlier this offseason, the Nationals are a team with deep pockets — very deep pockets. In all honesty, they are a team that doesn’t need to spare any expense in order to get top talent, but they did. Does this mean that the next item on Mike Rizzo’s to-do list to negotiate a contract extension for one of his several players needing one? Could he be skimming through the market looking for free agents to sign just because?
If there’s one thing we’ve all learned about Mike Rizzo it’s that he never tips his hand. When Mike Rizzo wants to make a deal, nobody knows about it until it’s happening or has already happened. Rarely does a reporter get a scoop on him.
If he wants to go in any of the directions mentioned in the above paragraph he’s certainly got plenty of wiggle room in his pockets to make that happen. It’s all thanks to his ability to spare a few dollars here and there and still manage to get good talent on his roster. While the deal with the Athletics did send one of the Nationals’ top prospects across country it works out very well for the Nationals financially.