When the question arose in June about which National looked like the most likely candidate to be traded by the July 31 deadline, I was consistent in my answer: Todd Coffey.
I felt the veteran righty reliever would be pretty easy to move, given his relatively low salary, the presence of in-house replacements and the ever-present market for relief pitching. But July 31 came and went, and Coffey was still a National. Now the season is winding down, and Coffey's recent efforts are putting him back into the picture for 2012.
In 19 of his last 22 appearances, he's allowed no earned runs. His current 3.65 ERA is deceptive, because as a short reliever, it only takes a couple of bad outings to send it soaring. In 64 appearances, he's pitched fewer than 57 innings, allowing 50 hits, striking out 44 with only 16 non-intentional walks. He's allowed just a .236 batting average against. You could make the argument he's done his best work in the big leagues with the Nationals.
At 31, Coffey would seem to have a lot left in the tank, and should the Nats choose to let him walk away, I think he'd have no trouble finding a gig next year. Given Davey Johnson's lack of hesitation to use him in tough situations, though, I'll be surprised if we don't see him in Viera, Fla., next February.