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Roster preview: Craig Stammen

Feb 5, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT

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Age on Opening Day 2014: 30

How acquired: 12th round pick, 2005 draft

2014 salary: $1.375 million

2013 stats: 55 G, 81.2 IP, 78 H, 30 R, 25 ER, 4 HR, 27 BB, 79 K, 1.286 WHIP, 0 SV, 1 BS, 7-6, 2.76 ERA, 2.82 FIP, 1.0 WAR

2014 storyline: After back-to-back seasons that showcased his effectiveness, durability and versatility, Stammen has firmly established himself as a key member of the Nationals bullpen. The only question entering 2014 is how new manager Matt Williams intends to use him.

Stammen has the ability to pitch one strong inning of relief in tight spots, but he has also proven particularly adept at pitching as many innings as needed (whether early in a game after the starter gets knocked out or later in extra innings). He leads all major-league relievers with 49 multi-inning appearances over the last two seasons.

Best-case scenario: It’s hard to imagine Stammen being much better than the last two years, but the Nationals would love to see him put slightly fewer men on base (perhaps lowering his WHIP from 1.2 to an even 1.0). They’d also love to see him clamp down on the running game, holding men on first base better. Combine those improvements with another 80-plus innings of relief with a 2.25 ERA, and Stammen would have the makings of a brilliant season.

Worst-case scenario: You do worry that the workload is going to catch up to Stammen one of these days. He has dealt with only one semi-significant injury in his career: bone chips in his elbow way back as a rookie in 2009. The odds suggest he might be due for an ailment of some type, in this case perhaps one that would limit him to 30 appearances, an inflated 4.00 ERA and a less-important role in the Nationals pen.

Most-likely scenario: Barring injury, there’s no reason to believe Stammen can’t put together another season like the ones we saw from him in 2012 and 2013. Williams might watch his workload a bit more than Davey Johnson did, so don’t be surprised if Stammen’s appearances and innings go down just a tick (let’s say 50 games and 70 innings). A 2.75 ERA remains highly plausible.

  1. scnatsfan - Feb 5, 2014 at 8:58 AM

    For arguments sake, if you sign a Perez of expect Mattheus to return to form and have confidence Ohlendorf can handle long relief then Stammen could be a guy traded; he would have value as you could really see him becoming a Clippard like player for another team; here Clip and Storen both are above him. Might get something really nice for him.

    Not that I want him moved, just bringing a point up.

  2. Theophilus T.S. - Feb 5, 2014 at 9:13 AM

    Stammen is what he is — a fine middle-reliever. By himself he figures to fetch some other team’s middle reliever. What’s the point in that? His best attribute to another team is that he is under control (arb-eligible) for two more years. As a piece in a multi-player trade, maybe he tips the scale toward somebody else’s high-level prospect. He’s too valuable to throw him away in a gamble.

    • scnatsfan - Feb 5, 2014 at 9:55 AM

      My point is he could be a good set up man instead of a good middle reliever. You think Clip would fetch middling prospects because he is ‘just’ a set up man? I’m not advocating moving him, just saying he could play a bigger role on another team and that team might pay something nice to get him.

      • jd - Feb 5, 2014 at 10:00 AM

        I am with Theo on this. Stammenn is more valuable to the Nats than to other teams. He is better than Matheus and can do multiple roles and is generally reliable.In a trade he won’t fetch much. Similarly, Clip won’t fetch as much as he’s worth in the open market.

  3. tcostant - Feb 5, 2014 at 9:25 AM

    A good read of rotations around MLB:

    http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/02/05/ranking-the-rotations-2014-edition/

  4. tcostant - Feb 5, 2014 at 9:35 AM

    Amazing story about old “freind” Yunesky Maya:

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20140203&content_id=67426210&notebook_id=67426212&vkey=notebook_mlb&c_id=mlb

    I’m always amazed that defectors don’t have more fear. Who to say, that they can’t just throw you back on a plane and send you back to Cuba for breaking law by leaving. I never git that lack of fear.

  5. Section 222 - Feb 5, 2014 at 10:15 AM

    Does anyone here expect Mattheus to return to form? I’m afraid the locker punch doomed him in Natstown. Time to move on from him. Probable BP:

    Soriano
    Clip
    Storen
    Stammen
    Blevins
    Cedeno
    Ohlendorf

    Ohlendorf is the go to long guy, with Stammen playing that role only when Ohlie is not available. I’d like to see a second leftie in the pen, ie. Cedeno, but maybe Solis wins the job. That allows Williams to use Blevins in a setup role when there’s a LH batter expected, but also have a LOOGY in reserve for a later inning if needed.

    • tcostant - Feb 5, 2014 at 10:39 AM

      I expect Mattheus to return to form. He isn’t the first guy to make this mistake. He’ll be fine, just came back a little to early.

    • scnatsfan - Feb 5, 2014 at 10:55 AM

      Will be interesting to see Mattheus in ST and see which of his personalities shows up. Ohli I’m only worried about because of what happened to Duke. Cedeno I’m not sold on; wasn’t he waived by the worst team in baseball???

      • Section 222 - Feb 5, 2014 at 4:27 PM

        He was. Got lit up there, but pitched decently for us — a 1.000 WHIP in 11 appearances. Only 6 innings though. He’ll have to earn the job in ST.

  6. scnatsfan - Feb 5, 2014 at 10:57 AM

    Koyie Hill? And you thought Snyder was going to be the only Jake Taylor in camp.

  7. TimDz - Feb 5, 2014 at 10:57 AM

    Koyie Hill (catcher) signed minor league contract with Spring Training invite….

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