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Treinen re-assigned, reducing final bullpen contenders

Mar 24, 2014, 10:43 AM EST

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Updated at 12:50 p.m.

JUPITER, Fla. — The Nationals reduced the competition for their final bullpen spot by one this morning, re-assigning Blake Treinen to minor-league camp.

Treinen had been among the biggest revelations of the spring, a right-hander who, in the words of manager Matt Williams, throws “an easy 97″ mph. Acquired from the Athletics as part of the Jan. 2013 three-team trade that sent Michael Morse to the Mariners, Treinen started 20 games at Class AA Harrisburg last season and posted a 3.64 ERA.

Treinen pitched exclusively out of the bullpen in his first big-league spring training, posting a 4.66 ERA in six appearances. The Nationals, though, will stretch him out to start again now that he’s headed back to the minors (likely Class AAA Syracuse), though some in the organization also believe he could become a highly effective short reliever once he reaches the majors.

“We have some depth, certainly in the starting roles,” Williams said. “So he may be able to help us in the bullpen as well. We asked him the question this morning, and he likes the bullpen as well. It’s hard for a guy that potentially is a top-of-the-rotation starter with his stuff to say: ‘Hey, what do you think about this?’ But he said he really enjoyed that part of it this spring.”

Regardless of his eventual role, Treinen made a significant impression on club officials this spring and is likely to be among the first pitchers considered for a promotion this season.

“We let him know that he is our next wave, if you will,” Williams said. “He proved everything he had to prove this spring to us. We’re all pleasantly surprised with his progress and the way he threw the baseball.”

With Treinen out of the mix, the battle for the final spot in the Nationals’ bullpen comes down to right-handers Aaron Barrett, Ryan Mattheus (who missed most of camp with a chest injury and likely won’t be ready in time for Opening Day) and Tanner Roark (who is also competing for the No. 5 starter’s job), plus left-handers Xavier Cedeno and Michael Gonzalez.

  1. Faraz Shaikh - Mar 24, 2014 at 10:55 AM

    What about Chris Young in the bullpen? Will he accept that role?

    • masterfishkeeper - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:02 AM

      Young has always been a starter, but you never know. Again, someone would have to come off the 40 man. Might be better to trade him for a lottery ticket.

    • natinalsgo - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:04 AM

      For long man? I don’t think so as you still have to make a 40 man spot for him.

      Roark is proven to be effective out of the pen. I think Rizzo tries to trade CYoung and if he can’t gives him the #5 with Roark to the pen and TaylorJ to AAA.

      That gives the team flexibility and if CYoung can’t give results he gets DFA’d and TaylorJ steps in.

  2. scnatsfan - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:00 AM

    Faraz I don’t know that you do that; you keep him stretched out in case you need him. But, then again, I’ve been wrong on most Nats decisions…

    • Sonny G 10 - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:01 AM

      Like most of the rest of us. :)

    • Faraz Shaikh - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:11 AM

      I doubt he would be interested either. besides as gonat and keeper mentioned, 40 man roster is involved.

  3. Sonny G 10 - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:00 AM

    I really liked Treinen’s results this ST. Good asset to have waiting in the wings.

    • natinalsgo - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:12 AM

      Absolutely and Treinen makes the team if he was on the 40 man. Now he becomes bullpen depth.

      It’s a numbers game and guys like Jamey Carroll not only are competing with TyMo and Kobernus and Espi but also with CYoung and Michael Gonzalez who aren’t on the 40 man.

      There’s no easy moves on the 40 man like the 60 Day DL move to free up a spot which would cause Rizzo to drop someone like Eury to make room or make a trade. Keep in mind, you would want to trade for a player not currently on another team’s 40 man in order to free a spot.

  4. NatsLady - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:07 AM

    Barrett still hanging on means they are not sure about Storen and Mattheus.

    • Faraz Shaikh - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:14 AM

      I thought Mattheus’ job is up for grabs considering he has missed time due to injury this spring. Isn’t the bullpen; soriano, clippard, stammen, storen, detwiler, blevins, and #7 guy?

    • natinalsgo - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:18 AM

      Or going with only Detwiler and Blevins as the only lefties and 5 righties.

      Soriano, Clip, Storen, Stammen and one of Roark-Barrett-Mattheus for the last spot.

      Those 3 all have options and all are on the 40 man.

    • Jb - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:26 AM

      Mattheus yes. Storen no. No way he doesn’t go north.

  5. natsjackinfl - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:12 AM

    Treinen had a horrible first outing but was lights out after that. The scouts were extremely impressed. He actually tipped 98 a couple of times.

    I didn’t see enough of his secondary pitches to get a feel for how many he has confidence in but his power sinker is a killer.

  6. chaz11963 - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:32 AM

    I’m betting the rotation will be Stras, Gio, ZNN, Fister, and TJ; which would almost certainly mean keeping Roark in the pen- Soriano, Clippard, Stammen, Storen, Detwiler, Blevins, and Roark.

    • natinalsgo - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:45 AM

      In that scenario Chris Young opts out and your spot emergency starter in Syracuse is Ross Ohlendorf with Roark and Detwiler in the pen as they would need to be stretched out.

  7. thelatencn - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:43 AM

    Treinen caught my eye when I was in Viera. Seems to me he needs to be protected even though he apparently isn’t going north for the opener.

    • natinalsgo - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:47 AM

      The Nats control Treinen and no risk of losing him. He only will be added to the 40 man if they intend to bring him to DC.

    • NatsLady - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:47 AM

      Well, there is time on the protection, right? Rule 5 draft is not until June. Plenty can happen.

      • natinalsgo - Mar 24, 2014 at 12:00 PM

        When did they change Rule 5 from the 3rs week of November?

      • natinalsgo - Mar 24, 2014 at 12:15 PM

        My point on the Rule 5 is you have to protect your players in November or they can be picked in the December Rule 5 Draft. Has that changed to June?

  8. NatsLady - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:50 AM

    Small announcement. I’m blogging for pay now (very minute pay). Here is my first article. I will also be keeping my Lady and the Nats blog, and expect to go daily next week–WOW, NEXT week!!!!! Anyway, I’ll be covering MLB injures.

    http://www.sportsinjuryalert.com/2014/03/nats-anthony-rendon-out-with-severe.html#.UzBT-fldXng

    • natinalsgo - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:58 AM

      Congratulations on being a paid journalist. CSN could be calling soon!

    • Faraz Shaikh - Mar 24, 2014 at 12:14 PM

      WOW! Congratulations! awesome news!

      • thelatencn - Mar 24, 2014 at 2:20 PM

        +1

  9. raleighnat - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:57 AM

    My prediction for what its worth…Roark gets the #5 slot, Jordan to AAA and Barrett is the surprise final bullpen spot. Think there is concern about Soriano and Storen. But who knows!

  10. jd - Mar 24, 2014 at 12:03 PM

    I am actually very concerned about Drew Storen. Normally I don’t worry about regulars having poor springs, it is after all a process designed to get ready for when the games count however when you look at Storen’s recent trajectory there is cause for some worry:

    2012 – came back from injury and pitched very well.
    2012 – playoffs – great until the famous melt down in game 5.
    2013 – Loses closer’s job to Soriano.
    2013 – Pitches poorly for most of the year.
    2013 – gets demoted to AAA.
    2013 – returns to DC and pitches reasonably well.
    2014 – Loses set up role to Clipard.
    2014 – has a horrible spring.

    Makes you wonder if Drew might be better off getting a fresh start somewhere else because there is no denying that things have gone south for him in DC. I am a big fan of his and I certainly hope that his fortunes will be reversed and he will return to excellence for our team.

    • David Proctor - Mar 24, 2014 at 12:12 PM

      That’s a stretch. Storen didn’t lose the setup role to Clippard, he never had it.

      • Faraz Shaikh - Mar 24, 2014 at 12:16 PM

        Gotta agree with david! Drew never had that job. Just because he was a closer with Clip as setup man, does not make him a better reliever or gives him some right to the role of setup.

      • natinalsgo - Mar 24, 2014 at 12:16 PM

        Exactly. Clip is still the 8th inning guy. What’s changed there?

  11. knoxvillenat - Mar 24, 2014 at 12:30 PM

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see Storen start the season in Syracuse. Something just doesn’t look right to me and I don’t know that Rizzo and Williams are going to allow him to work out his problems at the big league level. Barrett may well be our 7th inning relief pitcher to start the year.

  12. jd - Mar 24, 2014 at 12:34 PM

    You guys are all getting technical here but there is 0 debate about the fact that Storen has slipped in the overall pecking order in the pen and I don’t believe that he has a stranglehold on a big league job with the Nats.

    • natinalsgo - Mar 24, 2014 at 12:48 PM

      I’m neutral on Storen and want to see him in real game situations. Since he has options and Rizzo has depth he could be on the hot seat. I just don’t put much stock in his ST as we aren’t privy to anything they had him working on.

    • Faraz Shaikh - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:01 PM

      Your post kind of suggests that Drew was ahead of Clip somehow. Even when Drew was closer, we knew Clippard was a better reliever. No doubt that Storen has slipped a bit. I would choose Stammen over Drew right now as a late inning reliever.

  13. natinalsgo - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:01 PM

    Whoa, Treinen back to AAA as a starter initially.

    • Faraz Shaikh - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:02 PM

      I hope they won’t hesitate to bring him up and put him in the pen if there is need.

      • natinalsgo - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:09 PM

        I agree. I think with Treinen and Det as hard throwing weapons for Matty is big.

  14. thelatencn - Mar 24, 2014 at 2:19 PM

    Okay, back to my original concern about Trienen. When does a team have to put someone on the 40-man in order to protect him from the Rule 5 draft?

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