Oct 24, 2013, 6:00 AM EDT
Age on Opening Day 2014: 27
How acquired: Trade with RHP Ryan Tatusko from Rangers for SS Cristian Guzman, July 2010
MLB service time: 55 days
2013 salary+bonuses: $490,000
Contract status: Arbitration-eligible in 2017, free agent in 2020
2013 Stats: 14 G, 5 GS, 53.2 IP, 38 H, 11 R, 9 ER, 1 HR, 11 BB, 40 K, 0.913 WHIP, 7-1, 1.51 ERA, 2.41 FIP, 1.4 WAR
Quotable: “Every time he’s gone out there, I’ve liked his work. He’s unfazed. If we boot a ball behind him, he goes right after them. He’s got a heck of a shot next year of making this club.” — Davey Johnson on Tanner Roark
2013 analysis: Barely on the Nationals’ radar when the season began, Roark began to turn heads at Class AAA Syracuse, where he posted a 3.15 ERA. In need of bullpen help in August, the Nats summoned the right-hander, who proceeded to pitch brilliantly every time he was given an opportunity.
In nine relief appearances, Roark posted a 1.19 ERA while holding opponents to a .182 batting average. That earned him a spot in the September rotation, where he continued to dominate. In five starts, he went 3-1 with a 1.74 ERA, leaving him 7-1 overall with a 1.51 ERA.
2014 outlook: There was no reason to even consider Roark as a significant part of the Nationals’ 2014 plans, but now it appears a given he’ll figure into the mix somewhere.
Roark could compete for the fifth starter’s job in spring training, and he certainly earned the right to do that. But he also proved valuable as a long reliever and could fill a real niche there while also being available as an emergency starter on the big-league roster.
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