When we decided to do a series on revamping the bullpen, I have to admit that the first guy that came to mind wasn’t Archie Bradley. That’s exactly where we’re going to start though. I’ll preface this by saying that I don’t necessarily love Archie Bradley — his baseball savant page speaks for itself:
The reason we’re starting with Archie Bradley isn’t because he’s the most dominant arm on the market this winter, but it’s because he’s exactly the type of guy Mike Rizzo would go after.
Bradley isn’t going to overpower anybody; his fastball velocity sits right around 94 mph. He throws a 4-seamer, sinker, curveball and changeup, which is an impressive arsenal for a reliever. His career K/9 is exactly 9.0, but he’s also issued 3.7 BB/9 throughout his career, which is on the high side for a reliever. He has closing experience, but he isn’t a closer per say. Bradley will, however, give you 50+ appearances out of the bullpen a year. He owns a 114 ERA+ over the course of his career, which is slightly above-average. He’s solid, but not spectacular, which is really what we’ve become accustomed to when watching Rizzo build a bullpen over the course of his tenure as Nationals GM/President.
This winter, Rizzo will be looking for relievers who can pitch often and who have some experience. He’s also not going to be willing to go past a 2-year deal on any reliever. The last time he went past 2 years on a reliever was Will Harris, and that has been an utter disaster. Bradley, who’s coming off an average year with the Phillies, will command no more than a 2-year deal and he’ll likely be in line for a pay-cut from the $6 million he brought home from the Phillies this year.
If Bradley is a piece to Rizzo’s revamped bullpen, I think the Nats could be in ok shape. If Bradley is the main piece to Rizzo’s revamped bullpen, the Nats are going to be in bad shape.
If the Nats can get Bradley on a 1-year $3-4 million deal, I think it’s probably worth it. He’d become the 7th or 8th inning guy, but the team would still be looking for an established closer.