Nationals Acquire Kelvin Herrera From Royals For Prospects

Image credit: Kelvin Herrera (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

The Nationals got a jump on the trade market Monday, acquiring All-Star reliever Kelvin Herrera from the Royals to bolster their bullpen and their chances for a division title.

The Nationals sit three and a half games back of the Braves in the NL East and own a 3.74 bullpen ERA, which ranks 12th in the majors. This is the second straight year they’ve made a marquee trade to solidify their relief corps. Washington acquired Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson from the Athletics last July in exchange for Blake Treinen and prospects Jesus Luzardo and Sheldon Neuse.

Additional reporting by Josh Norris and Ben Badler

Royals acquire:

Blake Perkins, OF
Age: 21

Drafted in the second round, No. 69 overall, in 2015, Perkins is an athletic outfielder who doesn’t offer much with the bat. He has yet to surpass the Class A levels in his fourth professional season and is currently batting .234/.344/.290 at high Class A Hagerstown this year. Perkins is a premium center fielder with plus speed, mature instincts, excellent routes and an above-average arm. He uses his speed well to be a threat on the basepaths. At the plate, Perkins a switch-hitter better from the right side (.265, .690 OPS) than the left (.223, .613 OPS), with neither side showing enough for evaluators to project a big league regular. He ranked as the Nationals’ No. 11 prospect coming into the season.

Kelvin Gutierrez, 3B
Age: 23

Gutierrez draws strong reviews for his plus defense and plus arm at third base, but evaluators are skeptical he has enough power to profile as a major league third baseman. Gutierrez has posted a .274/.321/.391 slash line for Double-A Harrisburg this season, and his five home runs are already a career-high. The quick first step, lateral range and overall athleticism that make Gutierrez a strong defender also show up on the basepaths, with 10 stolen bases in 11 attempts this year. He ranked as the No. 12 prospect in the Nationals’ system entering this season.

Yohanse Morel, RHP
Age: 17

Morel is an intriguing, deep-sleeper pickup for the Royals. As an amateur, Morel trained as an outfielder in the Dominican Republic but moved to the mound before signing with the Nationals last year for $100,000 on July 2. Morel threw 88-91 mph when he signed but since then his fastball has jumped to 95 mph. With his fast arm speed and room to fill out his 6-foot-1, 180-pound frame, Morel has a chance to throw even harder in the future. He shows feel for a power slider and has the athleticism that should bode well for his ability to repeat his delivery and make adjustments. He made his pro debut with one start in the Dominican Summer League on June 2.

Nationals acquire:

Kelvin Herrera, RHP
Age: 28

The two-time All-Star is in the midst of maybe his best season. Herrera is 1-1, 1.05 with 22 strikeouts and two walks in 25.2 innings and has the lowest ERA and walk rates of his career. He served as the Royals’ closer with 14 saves but will move into a setup role in Washington with Sean Doolittle ensconced as the Nationals’ closer. He becomes one of four Nationals relievers with recent closer experience, joining Doolittle, Madson and Brandon Kintzler, that Washington can throw at teams at the end of games. Herrera will be a free agent at the end of this season.

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