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Roster review: Ross Ohlendorf

Oct 29, 2013, 6:00 AM EDT

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Age on Opening Day 2014: 31

How acquired: Minor-league free agent, Jan. 2013

MLB service time: 4 years, 170 days

2013 salary+bonuses: Unknown

Contract status: Arbitration-eligible in 2014, free agent in 2016

2013 Stats: 16 G, 7 GS, 60.1 IP, 56 H, 22 R, 22 ER, 14 BB, 45 SO, 8 HR, 1.160 WHIP, 4-1, 3.28 ERA, 4.03 FIP, 0.3 WAR

2013 analysis: Something of an afterthought at spring training, Ohlendorf opened the season at Class AAA Syracuse and didn’t seem likely to appear in Washington anytime soon. But the Nationals found themselves in need of an emergency starter June 12 in Colorado, so the right-hander got the call and wound up holding the Rockies to one run on two hits over six sparkling innings.

Out of options and thus unable to be sent back to the minors without first passing through waivers, Ohlendorf stayed with the Nationals and pitched out of the bullpen, where he proved an effective long man. He got the chance to start six more games, which featured mixed results, often with Ohlendorf fading once he reached the fifth or sixth inning.

2014 outlook: Ohlendorf presents an interesting case this winter. Because he has considerable big-league experience, he’s eligible for arbitration and thus could be in line for a significant salary. The Nationals could simply decide not to take the chance and non-tender the right-hander, making him a free agent.

If he returns, Ohlendorf will again be out of options, so he’ll need to make the club out of spring training or be exposed to waivers. The veteran hurler could prove valuable, though, whether as a No. 5 starter or long reliever. He could wind up being one of Mike Rizzo’s tougher offseason decisions.

  1. alexva6 - Oct 29, 2013 at 9:16 AM

    his season changed on July 26th against the Mets when he appeared to injure his shoulder. my guess is we can get him on another minor league deal similar to last year and he can provide some emergency depth in AAA

  2. scnatsfan - Oct 29, 2013 at 9:51 AM

    If his arm is sound – if – then I’m not against using him as the long arm in the pen if the numbers work out.

  3. Theophilus T.S. - Oct 29, 2013 at 10:35 AM

    Ohlendorf suddenly emerged as a pitcher with “tools,” specifically, a 93-94 FB and swing-and-miss stuff. As such he warrants serious consideration. Having said that, they don’t need two Stammens in the BP. And there are any number of young RHs in the minors who could fill the Mattheus hole in the pen. (On the other hand, those young pitchers (A) don’t have Ohlendorf’s experience and (B) need to get their own experience in the minors). One possibility is to move Stammen up into the Mattheus spot so that Ohlendorf can go long.

    I can’t see how Ohlendorf gets a prohibitively expensive raise in arbitration. Going back to Lannan, my recollection is that, even if he is successful in arbitration, the team can release him w/out a penalty sometime before they break camp. I can’t make a compelling case for tendering him a contract — they can hope, after all, that he signs a non-arbitrated lower-priced deal — but if there is no huge risk why wouldn’t you collect all of the possibly useful pieces and sort ‘em out when all of the injuries are healed and all of the FA possibilities explored?

    • ArVAFan - Oct 29, 2013 at 1:40 PM

      It was fun to watch him pitch–for five innings. Then it got scary. I think long relief and emergency starter: five innings of Ollie, two from Stammen, plus Clip & (you hope) Soriano makes a ballgame. But not every five starts, please.

  4. tcostant - Oct 29, 2013 at 10:51 AM

    When is Chris Young preview coming? That’s my point, Ohlendorf was a huge pleasent surprise.

  5. NatsLady - Oct 29, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    Do you suppose the Nats could fix Clayton Richard?

  6. langleyclub - Oct 29, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    Don’t see Ross O staying with the Nats. Given the Nats need to protect roster spots, I don’t see the Nats offering Ohlendorf a MLB contract, but he showed enough for another MLB team with openings to offer Ohlendorf a contract. I would expect the Nats will offer minor league contracts to another set of former MLB pitchers looking to return to form hoping for a similar comeback.

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