There is a new Tanner on the mound. Tanner Roark is now a Cincinnati Red, but Tanner Rainey is one of three new arms in the Nats bullpen. It feels like players are traveling between D.C. and Fresno every day, so who knows who will be here tomorrow, but let’s take a moment to meet some new faces under those curly W hats.
Thirty-three year old Guerra is with his second team of the season, and the sixth MLB team of his career. The right-handed reliever brings 212 games of experience to a bullpen that sometimes resembles a group of college freshmen. His 8-11 career record along with a 3.44 ERA isn’t exactly the Mariano Rivera this team is looking for. But Guerra hasn’t lost a game this season (he hasn’t won either) and we’ll take anything that looks like it’s pointing in the general direction of success.
McGowin also isn’t in the running for any ERA awards. After three innings of work, he has a 6.00 ERA with three strikeouts. McGowin is younger (27) than Guerra, and is only in his second season with the team. For all intents and purposes, he’s brand-new, only having made one ill-fated start last season in which he gave up five runs in seven innings with two home runs. He last pitched against the Chicago Cubs on May 19, giving up two earned runs, so his track record isn’t abysmal, but there is still room for improvement.
The lone fielder on this list, Parra has already made himself invaluable to the lineup. Since joining the Nats on May 10, he has three home runs, including a game winning grand slam against the LA Dodgers. He also brings his career .277 to an offense that is in dire need of a boost. In addition to being an offensive leader, Parra is a skilled defender. He has capably filled in at all three outfield positions (especially crucial when Juan Soto was injured) and is also manning first base while both Ryan Zimmerman is on the IL.
Rainey is looking to join the Trevor Rosenthal ERA club. In his second big league season (last year with the Reds– see Tanner trade) Rainey has a 21.38 career ERA. In his second appearance as a National on May 21, he gave up a two run home run to Pete Alonso that tied the game and allowed the Mets to walk off in the bottom of the ninth inning. One home run isn’t enough to discount Rainey, but his track record (and season ERA of 9.00) makes it hard to believe he will be staying around much longer
Some familiar faces in Trea Turner, Anthony Rendon, and Juan Soto have returned to the field and should help boost the offense and anchor the infield. In the meantime, it may be time for Mike Rizzo to go shopping and pick up a few veteran relievers. After all, Craig Kimbrel is still available, and Shane Greene is being shopped around by the Tigers.