Feb 8, 2014, 5:02 PM EDT
Age on Opening Day 2014: 27
How acquired: Selected off waivers from Houston Astros, April 2013
2014 salary: N/A
2013 stats: 16 G, 12.1 IP, 15 H, 12 R, 9 ER, 8 BB, 9 K, 1.865 WHIP, 6.57 ERA, 4.02 FIP, 0.0 WAR
2014 storyline: Xavier Cedeno enters 2014 with a chance to make the roster in spring, but it’s unlikely we’ll see him in Washington on Opening Day. His numbers in D.C. last season were solid (1.50 ERA in 11 appearances) and he is a lefty. However, right now there is just too much competition for the final spots in the Nationals’ bullpen.
Cedeno will likely head to Syracuse and be stowed away as an insurance policy. Because he is a left-hander, though, it’s probable that we’ll see him up at some point. It will be up to Cedeno to perform well in Syracuse to make the case for a call-up, but beyond Jerry Blevins the Nationals are still lacking lefty relievers. And even if Ross Detwiler finds himself in the bullpen, he’s probably better suited for long relief. Cedeno had a strong audition in his brief time with the Nats last year, we’ll see if he can carry it over and play his way into a significant bullpen role.
Best-case scenario: The best-case scenario for Cedeno would be making the roster out of spring training as the second lefty behind Blevins. Right now he figures to be in a battle for the final two spots with a large group of guys. If he does make the team, and then pitches well for the Nationals, it’s possible he could end up making upwards of 40 or 50 appearances. If he could contribute that much with an ERA in the low-3.00s, he’d give the Nats just about all they can ask for.
Worst-case scenario: Cedeno obviously hopes to be in Washington come late March, but if he pitches poorly in spring he’ll probably begin the year in Syracuse. Given he’s under team control through 2018, it’s unlikely the Nationals would let him go even if he has a bad year. He’s still a valuable asset to stash in Triple-A. It could, however, bump him far down the depth chart and leave his future chances to pitch in Washington in doubt.
Most-likely scenario: Cedeno’s most likely going to start the season in Syracuse and be up by June because of another reliever’s injury. As long as he pitches decently in spring and in Triple-A if he gets there, he’ll be a solid option for the Nats when they need reinforcements. A conservative estimate would put Cedeno at 25-30 appearances with an ERA just south of 4.00.
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