Nationals Arm Race

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

Rodriguez’s DL trip incredibly fortuitous for the Nats


A "neck spasm" is sending Rodriguez to the DL. Photo:

A few days ago I was kvetching about the Henry Rodriguez situation in this space.  One sentence summary; he was “stuck” on the 25-man b/e he had no options yet was being held out of games to work on his mechanics.

Now, it appears the Nats decision makers has been given a lucky parachute out of this debacle, with rumors now swirling that Rodriguez will start the season on the DL.  Kilgore reports that he was experiencing soreness in his shoulder while Ladson said he saw a doctor for some neck stiffness.  Yesterday morning Comak reported he experienced a “neck spasm.”  I’ll bet $100 someone took him aside and basically told him to claim some sort of soft-tissue, difficult to diagnose injury in order to enable a disabled trip visit.

Either way, stashing Rodriguez on the DL is the best way to resolve this situation.  It may be slightly unethical in terms of player movement, but it certainly happens all the time.

Rodriguez’s DL trip means the bullpen and player retention issues that were plaguing the Nats resolve themselves for the most part.  Here’s how the bullpen almost certainly shakes out now:

  • closer: Storen (despite his troubles, he’ll be given every opportunity to keep the spot)
  • setup: Clippard, Coffey and Burnett.  Coffey may be on thin ice though.
  • loogy: Slaten.  The Lee Hyde waiver pickup (and to a lesser extent Villone) provides Slaten insurance.
  • long-men: Broderick and Gaudin: Rule5 draftee makes the team and could be a steal.  Gaudin earns his way back onto a major league roster.

The Gaudin retention means we need another 40-man spot; my guess is that Chien-Ming Wang goes on the 60-day dl.

Balester loses out despite pitching very well; clearly an options move.  When most of your bullpen options have little to no roster flexibility, you put yourself into a situation where you send down better guys in lieu of keeping lesser guys.  I’m sure Balester understands this and hopefully he gets another shot to come up soon.  If Coffey continues to struggle we should see a Brian Bruney-esque release and a quick callup for Balester.

Written by Todd Boss

March 25th, 2011 at 10:45 am

Posted in Majors Pitching

2 Responses to 'Rodriguez’s DL trip incredibly fortuitous for the Nats'

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  1. Agreed. I think the HRod injury is ‘strained mechanics’.

    Balester has been lights out this spring, but releasing Coffey is admitting a mistake. I just don’t get why they don’t sign guys like coffey & Bruney to 2 way contracts, where they would still collect their money but work things out in Syracuse.
    Maybe the labor contract doesn’t allow it.

    Mark L

    25 Mar 11 at 12:42 pm

  2. Either “strained mechanics” or “bruised ego.”

    I don’t quite understand these contracts either. For example, we signed Gaudin to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. But, he’d still have to pass through waivers to get to our AAA team. Meanwhile we sign Perez to a minor league contract 2 days ago and he’s already assigned to AAA. It beats me. Perhaps it is related to options still; even a player in his 40s can have options left (Pudge I think still has all 3) but can refuse the assignment based on 5 or more years of mlb time.

    Todd Boss

    25 Mar 11 at 2:31 pm

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