Depth is always an issue in the major leagues, as a 162 game season played over 183 days causes more than simple wear and tear on players. Over the last five seasons, the Nats have used at least 20 batters and 18 pitchers every year in the big leagues, averaging 21.8 batters, 21.2 pitchers, and 43 players total per season. For this reason, it’s important for us to look beyond projecting the 25-man roster (or even the 40-man roster) and look at AAAA-type players, MiLB free agent signings and Rule 5 draft picks.Read More
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When most people think of a lefty reliever they think of a match-up pitcherthat trots out of the bullpen to pitch to one better and then to disappear never to be seen from again in the game. Last season the Nationals had three left handed relievers, but only one of them was occasionally used as a match-up pitcher and that was Mike Gonzalez. In 21 of his 47 outings he pitched less than one inning, but that still means in most of them he was not used as a match-up pitcher. In fact Mike Gonzalez faced one more right handed batter on the season than he did left handed batters meaning that he essentially was not a match-up pitcher even though his splits of an .836 OPS against to right handers vs. .525 to left handers indicates that he should have been.
Coming into this season the Nationals didn't think they were going to need a match-up pitcher. They did win 98 games in 2012 without one and by signing Soriano basically replaced Burnett in the set-up or seventh inning role with Clippard and/or Storen, and had Zach Duke taking Tom Gorzelanny's place as a long reliever. Mike Gonzalez's role was going to be filled by Ryan Mattheus. If the Nats needed someone to pitch the sixth he was going to be the man and then they would use Storen, Clippard, Soriano to finish the game out.Read More