Oct 27, 2013, 2:52 PM EDT
Age on Opening Day 2014: 28
How acquired: Minor-league free agent, Nov. 2012
MLB service time: 2 years, 73 days
2013 salary+bonuses: $500,000 (approx.)
Contract status: Arbitration-eligible in 2015, free agent in 2018
2013 Stats: 39 G, 37.2 IP, 42 H, 14 R, 14 ER, 10 BB, 32 SO, 3 HR, 1.381 WHIP, 0-3, 3.35 ERA, 3.26 FIP, 0.3 WAR
2013 analysis: Signed over the winter as a minor-league free agent, Abad posted a 1.06 ERA and 12-to-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio at Class AAA, Abad earned a promotion to D.C. in late-May. The Nationals, who opened the season without a true matchup lefty in their bullpen, hoped he would help address an obvious need.
Abad fit the bill for a while. He wasn’t scored upon in any of his first 10 big-league appearances, and he boasted a 1.48 ERA by the end of July.
But Abad struggled after that and ended the season on a sour note. He was scored upon in six of his final 10 outings, putting 23 men on base in only 13 1/3 innings.
2014 outlook: Though he offered glimpses of success, Abad is in no way assured of returning next season. The Nationals have made it clear they intend to try to acquire a more reliable left-handed reliever this winter, so Abad is likely going to be a backup plan at best.
If he wants to earn his way back onto the roster — and stay there — there’s one key area Abad must improve: He needs to be able to get left-handed hitters out. Surprisingly, lefties hit .306 against him this year, a full 59 points better than righties did. If Abad can’t consistently retire left-handers, he’s going to have a mighty tough time sticking with the Nats … or with anyone.
COUNTDOWN TO OPENING DAY
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