Nationals acquire Kelvin Herrera from Royals

The Washington Nationals acquired right-handed pitcher Kelvin Herrera from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for infielder Kelvin Gutierrez, Minor League outfielder Blake Perkins and Minor League right-handed pitcher Yohanse Morel on Monday. Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcements.

Herrera, 28, has pitched to a 1.05 ERA (3 ER/25.2 IP) while converting 14 saves in 27 games for the Kansas City Royals in 2018. He has struck out 22 batters while issuing just two walks. Herrera did not issue his first walk until his 27th appearance, June 12 vs. Cincinnati. He has posted a 0.82 WHIP and opposing batters are hitting just .207 with a .283 slugging percentage (1 double, 2 home runs) against him.

A two-time American League All-Star (2015, 2016) and member of the 2015 World Series Champion Kansas City Royals, Herrera entered Monday ranked among American League relievers in WHIP (2nd, 0.82), ERA (1st, 1.05), opp. OBP (2nd, .223), walks per 9.0 IP (2nd, 0.70), strikeout-to-walk ratio (5th, 11.00) and saves (T8th, 14).

Herrera has appeared in 22 Postseason games, going 2-0 with a 1.26 ERA (4 ER/28.2 IP) and 38 strikeouts without allowing a home run along the way. He posted a 0.66 ERA (1 ER/13.2 IP) while striking out 22 batters in 11 games as the Royals went on to win the 2015 World Series. His 22 strikeouts were the second-highest by a relief pitcher in Postseason history, trailing only Francisco Rodriguez, who struck out 28 batters in 2002.

In eight Major League seasons, Herrera is 23-27 with 57 saves and a 2.75 ERA in 442 games out of Kansas City’s bullpen. He ranked eighth in the American League with a career-high 26 saves in 2017. Since his first full season in the Major Leagues in 2012, Herrera has made at least 60 appearances in five of six seasons entering the 2018 campaign.

A native of Tenares, Dominican Republic, Herrera was signed by the Royals as a non-drafted free agent, Dec. 18, 2006.

Perkins, 21, is hitting .236 with 11 doubles, one home run, 21 RBI, 40 walks and 38 runs scored in 63 games for Single-A Potomac. He was originally selected by Washington in the second round of the 2015 First-Year Player Draft. Perkins was rated by Baseball America as the No. 11 prospect in Washington’s system entering the 2018 season.

Gutierrez, 23, is hitting .274 with six doubles, three triples, five homers, 26 RBI, 16 walks, 10 stolen bases and 36 runs scored in 58 games with Double-A Harrisburg. He entered the season rated by Baseball America as the No. 12 prospect in Washington’s Minor League system.

Morel, 17, was signed by the Nationals as a non-drafted free agent, July 2, 2017. He has appeared in one game with the DSL Nationals in 2018 (3.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, BB, 5 SO).