Oakland A’s: Potential landing spots for Liam Hendriks

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 17: Liam Hendriks #16 of the Oakland Athletics reacts to getting the save during the ninth inning to beat the Kansas City Royals at Ring Central Coliseum on September 17, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 17: Liam Hendriks #16 of the Oakland Athletics reacts to getting the save during the ninth inning to beat the Kansas City Royals at Ring Central Coliseum on September 17, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /

Washington Nationals

Just one year removed from the 2019 World Series Championship, the Washington Nationals finished last in the NL East with a 26-34 record. So what exactly went wrong?

Injuries are the best answer to this question. While the National League was extremely competitive last season, the Nationals missed names like Stephen Strasburg, Starlin Castro, Roenis Elías, Sean Doolittle, and Howie Kendrick, who all spent considerable time on the Injured List last season.

Still, the Nationals are not that far off from contention. Consider last season an aberration. Washington’s core is still intact. Add in Anthony Rendon’s relatively down-year last season and a crowded NL East, anything is possible next year.

But, the Nationals will need to address Doolittle hitting free agency. Washington ranked 23rd in bullpen ERA (4.68) and 24th in bullpen WHIP (1.498). Doolittle, the Nationals’ closer from 2017-19, owns a career 3.07 ERA and will be dearly missed if Washington is unable to bring him back.

Next. Canseco wants to box one of the Paul brothers. dark

It’s possible the Nationals move Tanner Rainey into this role, but the 27-year-old has plenty of years ahead of him. The Nationals will make a serious push to contend next year by shoring up the bullpen with an arm like Hendriks.