Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

Nats continue to use the DL as “extended spring training”

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The Nats fans finally get to see what our flamethrowing reliever can do. Photo Ezra Shaw/Getty Images via bleacherreport.com

The Nats re-instated reliever Henry Rodriguez from the 15-day DL today, and as expected removed their least-performing reliever (Chad Gaudin) from the active roster.  In a slightly surprising move, instead of DFA-ing Gaudin (as I suspected they may have done), he himself was put in the 15-day DL with “right shoulder inflammation.”

This move continues a trend we’ve seen out of the Nats organization this season of putting pitchers onto the Disabled List with nebulous “soft tissue” injuries when they under-perform.  Lets be honest; every single major league pitcher probably has “shoulder inflammation” or “tendinitis” at any point in the season.  Pitching is an unnatural act that puts tremendous strain on the shoulder, rotator cuff, elbow and forearm tendons of every hurler.  So perhaps every pitcher could convince a doctor that 2 weeks off could be beneficial.

One can make the argument that, in addition to Gaudin and Rodriguez himself (coming out of spring training, after severely under-performing, showing up late because of visa issues and without any minor league options to use), the Nats have also done this with Garrett Mock and Luis Atilano after they both underperformed in their first few minor league starts.  Additionally, instead of just outright assigning guys to extended spring, the likes of Oliver Perez, Shairon Martis, Atahualapa Severino, Rafael Martin, Zech Zinicola, Patrick Arnold, and Dean Weaver all have been listed on various level’s DLs with “injuries” that could probably better be defined as “didn’t make the team” instead of something legitimate.

I guess I don’t have a problem with the moves, since they enable the team to retain players that may still have value to the franchise, even if they seem slightly disingenuous.  Gaudin, for example, probably earned his way onto the 25-man roster out of spring and still could hold some trade value if he can improve on his early season performances.  I don’t believe he’s part of the long-term plans for the team (not with the host of decent arms we seem to have at the AAA and AA level right now).

In other cases, I question why we’re bothering with the subterfuge.  Certainly Nats fans have exhausted patience with certain players (Mock in particular) and openly question why we don’t move on.  Perhaps the answer is really, “we don’t have to make a move so why bother.”  And that’s certainly fair.  Mock can continue to hold a spot on the 40-man for the time being because there’s nobody coming off of the 60-man DL anytime soon, and there’s no hitters at the AAA or AA level who are hitting their way onto the active roster.

Written by Todd Boss

April 27th, 2011 at 7:07 pm

3 Responses to 'Nats continue to use the DL as “extended spring training”'

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  1. I agree this DL stuff is bogus, I pitched for 8 years with some sort of shoulder discomfort.

    Harper_ROY_2012

    29 Apr 11 at 8:24 am

  2. I’ve got shoulder discomfort right now! I heard a great quote once in the context of basketball, but I think it makes sense for any professional sport. A reporter asked a veteran player if he was “healthy.” And the guy said something along the lines of, “there’s not a player in the league who is 100% healthy once they get out of their rookie season. You get beat up but keep playing through it, your entire career.” I think that’s absolutely the case for a lot of these guys.

    Todd Boss

    29 Apr 11 at 9:43 am

  3. [...] Nationals Arm Race "…….Nobody likes to hear it, because it's dull, but the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver « Nats continue to use the DL as “extended spring training” [...]

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