Royals trade Kelvin Herrera to Nationals

Kelvin Herrera was a pivotal asset to the Royals world championship bullpen in 2015 and throughout his five year career.	 Orlin Wagner  AP

The Nationals made an early trade-deadline statement Monday night by pouncing on All-Star closer Kelvin Herrera.

Herrera has been one of MLB's most logical trade candidates for months given the Royals' descent into the American League Central cellar and his contract-year status. Included in the package are third baseman Kelvin Gutierrez (rated the organization's 10th-best prospect), outfielder Blake Perkins (rated 11th) and right-hander Yohanse Morel.

Herrera, 28, is a two-time All-Star and World Series champion.

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So far this season, the Dominican Republic native was 1-1 with a 1.05 ERA and 14 saves in 16 chances. Herrera figures to form a formidable lefty-righty combo with current Nats closer Sean Doolittle. He brings a career 23-27 record and 2.75 ERA to a Washington team trailing the Braves by three games in the NL East.

Though they gave up three players to acquire Herrera, the Nationals were able to avoid giving up any of their elite prospects, such as Juan Soto, Victor Robles or Carter Kieboom. It's possible he will move to the eighth inning in Washington, though.

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