Washington Nationals, MLB, baseball, DC, Ryan Mattheus
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Roster review: Ryan Mattheus

Nov 11, 2013, 11:57 AM EDT

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

Age on Opening Day 2014: 30

How acquired: Trade, July 2009

MLB service time: 2 years, 111 days

2013 salary+bonuses: $504,500 (approx.)

Contract status: Arbitration-eligible in 2015, free agent in 2018

2013 Stats: 37 G, 35.1 IP, 52 H, 26 R, 25 ER, 15 BB, 22 SO, HR, 1.896 WHIP, 0-3, 6.37 ERA, 3.44 FIP, -0.8 WAR

2013 analysis: Ryan Mattheus entered 2013 with a sub-3.00 ERA through 101 career appearances to his name, looking to be a major contributor in the Nats’ bullpen in his third major league season. His role was to be slightly different as the Nationals needed him to face more lefties, but either way it was supposed to be a big year for him. Mattheus found trouble right from the start, however, with four runs through his first seven outings in April. He was able to recover over the next few weeks before blowing up in San Diego before what would become the defining moment of his season. After allowing five earned runs in one inning vs. the Padres on May 19, Mattheus broke his pitching hand when he punched a locker at Petco Park. It kept him on the disabled list for over two months and essentially ruined his year altogether.

2014 outlook: Mattheus never fully returned to form after rejoining the Nats on July 26, so it will be interesting to see what he looks like in spring training. Obviously the Nationals would love to have the 2012 Ryan Mattheus back, but will he be back? Mattheus’ velocity dipped slightly last season which is not a good sign. Both his slider and splitter look a lot better when set up by mid-90s heat.

The positive way to look at his future would be the fact it was just a broken hand and not an elbow ligament or shoulder injury. As long as Mattheus comes back with full strength in his hand – and he didn’t injure anything else last year compensating for it – he should have a great opportunity to bounce back. After the Nationals fell to 17th in MLB bullpen ERA this season, they sure could use him.

  1. Candide - Nov 11, 2013 at 12:02 PM

    Looks like the Barves are moving to a new park in 2017. Here’s what the preliminary layout looks like (thanks for the tweet, NatsLady!):

    • Eugene in Oregon - Nov 11, 2013 at 12:32 PM

      That is wonderful. Thanks to you both for sharing.

      • nats128 - Nov 11, 2013 at 1:32 PM

        Im still laughing! Great link up!

        Turner Field is easy to get to with the I-75 and I-85 access however that area of Southeast is not a slice of paradise. It has the interstate on one side and the residential area is on the other side of the stadium and looks like what you would see a block or 2 on the other side of South Capital.

        My first and only time there we parked our rental in one of the Braves pay lots next to a STH lot. I had no reason to be concerned about the car. After the game we came back to find the passenger window was smashed and our mobile GPS was taken and our luggage in the trunk was gone. The police didnt give a darn. In fact they told us this happens on a nightly basis as he pointed towards the housing across the street. He said the police dont monitor the lots and thats up to the Barves.

    • sjm308 - Nov 11, 2013 at 3:32 PM

      I don’t know how to tweet but that was fun to read! Need more waffle houses though.

  2. Candide - Nov 11, 2013 at 12:52 PM

    Twins announce Joe Mauer will move to first base in 2014 season.

    They’ll be looking in the free agent market for a catcher.

    Bet they’re wishing they hadn’t traded Wilson Ramos for Matt Capps…

    • Faraz Shaikh - Nov 11, 2013 at 1:22 PM

      I wonder if they look for someone to take Mauer’s contract, five years and $115 million. By the time, his contract runs out, it will be difficult for Twins to ready to contend I think. Wonder what pieces it will take to trade him to Nats. I think his power is suppressed some due to Target Field and own health issues. That will be the huge question mark. I do like his plate discipline, which does age well

      Red Sox traded away worst contract (in terms of dollars) of Adrian Gonzalez to Dodgers and did not get any better prospects. So I think there won’t be any overpay needed (except money).

  3. therealjohnc - Nov 11, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    If Christian Garcia is healthy (big if) then Mattheus’s roster spot is in serious jeapordy. Here’s hoping he realizes that and puts in the offseason work. Unless there’s a trade, the bullpen is largely set: Soriano, Clippard, Storen, Stammen, long man (the runner-up in the #5 starter competition, probably Ohlendorf since he’s out of minor league options and that way Jordan, Roark and Karns can continue to develop as starters in AAA). One spot for a LHRP, either Cedeno, Abad or Krol. That’s six of seven spots right there. Mattheus is fighting with Garcia and the LHRP candidates for that last spot, and Garcia has better stuff and the LHRP at least offer additional matchup flexibility.

    Your move, Ryan. It better be a good one.

    • sjm308 - Nov 11, 2013 at 3:29 PM

      Not sure why, but after last year I really want TWO lefties in the pen. If that is the case, then you really have some competition, or it makes it easier for Rizzo to dangle either Clippard or Storen as part of a package that gets us a top notch starter. I don’t have a crystal ball but if Garcia is as good as I think he can be, and Matheus returns to what he was the year before, we honestly don’t need both Clippard and Storen. I do like Ohlendorf as the long man because he can step in a start with no issues. As in the previous post, my preference for the 2nd lefty in the pen is Detwiler.

      Go Nats!

  4. Candide - Nov 11, 2013 at 3:29 PM

    Mariners hire Jewett as bench coach.

    • sjm308 - Nov 11, 2013 at 3:36 PM

      thanks Candide. I read a lot of negatives about Jewett but I had no problem with most of the sends he made. Maybe Ramos who was coming off the hamstring was poor judgement but just think of everything that is going on and how little time that coach has to make that decision. I think whoever Matt Williams puts there will be aggressive and I like that. I think more things can go wrong for the defense in a play at the plate (they have to catch the ball, throw the ball and the catcher has to catch the throw and make the tag). and it sets a tone for the team that we want to be aggressive.

      • Candide - Nov 11, 2013 at 4:22 PM

        The send/don’t send decision is highly situational, but I think the 3rd base coach should have a clear idea in his mind what the conditions have to be to send the runner, BEFORE the ball is even put into play. Where does the ball have to be hit to score the runner from first or second, given the outfielders’ arms, the speed of his runner, the defense of the catcher, and so on. He shouldn’t have to figure all that out in the 1-2 seconds from the moment the ball hits the bat, or the ball hits the right-field wall.

        Aggressiveness on the basepaths is probably good, in general, given all the variable you mention that have to go just right to throw the runner out. But the guy at third should know what the likelihood is that the defending team has a good shot at putting it all together. You can run all day on the bad teams, and then when you move on to a good city, find your guys getting thrown out over and over again – because the good teams make those plays that the bad ones don’t.

  5. Theophilus T.S. - Nov 11, 2013 at 4:56 PM

    The best BPs the Nats have had included at least two LHs — Burnett/Slaten (the year Slaten was good), Burnett/Gorzellany/Gonzalez. That’s why going w/ only one last year really made no sense and was all a con job on the order of , “If you like your plan, you can keep it.” W/ one LH, no matter who it is, if Barry Bonds comes up in the fifth inning w/ the bases loaded, you might get him out that AB but you’re out of ammo for the rest of the afternoon. Mattheus is the wrong kind of pitcher for clutch situations; he is alleged to have a great sinker but that mostly means balls in play and w/ runners on who knows where they’ll come down. And that’s when he’s good.

    I really think they’re going to carry seven relievers — Soriano, Storen, Clippard, Stammen, two LHs (Cedeno and Krol?) and one crap shoot. Could be Ohlendorf, could be Mattheus, don’t think it will be Garcia until he’s proven himself fit at Syracuse, but mostly I hope it’s someone who throws 97+ (not H. Rodriguez).

  6. mauimo22 - Nov 11, 2013 at 7:35 PM

    I hope the Nats were able to recover some of his salary from 2013. I mean, this idiot hit a locker? With his throwing hand? Grow up Ryan. Thanks for bailing on your team after one bad game. You should pay the Nats back any salary collected last year.

    Mo

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