Washington Nationals

Washington Nationals get much-needed bullpen help in Daniel Hudson

The Washington Nationals bolstered their MLB-worst bullpen on Wednesday by trading for Daniel Hudson from Toronto.

The Washington Nationals are getting just what they needed with the acquisition of relief pitcher Daniel Hudson from the Toronto Blue Jays.

The 32-year-old Hudson was in the Blue Jays bullpen in Kansas City on Wednesday when he learned about the trade, walking off the field and embracing his former teammates before leaving to join the Nationals.

The Nationals can use him. Washington ranks last in the Majors this season with a 5.97 bullpen ERA and has the third-most blown saves. In the past 10 games, Nationals relievers have given up 28 runs in 38 innings for a 6.63 ERA.

The veteran Hudson has been solid for the Blue Jays this season after signing as a free agent three days before Opening Day. While he’s given up a run in three of his last four appearances, before that he had surrendered just two runs in 20.1 innings over 17 games. Since May 26, he hasn’t allowed a home run and has a 1.85 ERA, 15th in the Majors among pitchers with at least 20 innings. For the season, the right-hander is 6-3 with a 3.00 ERA while striking out a batter per inning.

Despite the bullpen struggles, the Nationals have surged into playoff contention in the National League. Twelve games under .500 on May 24, Washington has the best record in baseball since then at 37-19. They’re 15-9 in July entering play on Wednesday and are 5.5 games back of the Atlanta Braves in the NL East while holding the top Wild Card spot.

Hudson is in the 10th year of a career that started with the Chicago White Sox in 2009. His best season came as a starter for Arizona in 2011 when he went 16-12 with a 3.49 ERA. He pitched 40 games for the NL Champion Los Angeles Dodgers in 2018 but did not appear in the postseason. The Nationals will be the sixth team he’s played for.

The Blue Jays are getting RHP Kyle Johnston in exchange for Hudson. The 23-year-old from Texas currently plays for Single-A Potomac where he has a 4.03 ERA in 20 games this season. Toronto may also not be done making moves before the 4 p.m. EST trade deadline. They already traded Marcus Stroman to the New York Mets, with first baseman Justin Smoak and starting pitcher Aaron Sanchez other candidates to be dealt on Wednesday.

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