Nov 11, 2013, 11:57 AM EDT
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.
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