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Stock Watch: Do Nats have reliable eighth inning option?

Jul 23, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

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Each week this season, we’ll take the temperature of the Nationals roster to see whose stock is rising or falling.  

Record: 3-3

Team slash: .203/.277/.316

Team ERA: 3.83

Runs per game:  3.3



Yunel Escobar, 3B: .318 AVG / .591 SLG / .909 OPS 

The Nationals have to hope that Escobar’s latest injury isn’t that serious, being that he’s been one of the few steadying forces in the lineup this season. Think about it: It’s gotten to the point where Escobar, who was thought more for his glove than his bat in recent years, has been hitting in the cleanup spot behind Bryce Harper lately. Of course, part of that is the because the club has been hit with a rash of injuries to key players. But the other part of the equation is that he’s having a career year, hitting .321 with a .366 on-base percentage in 84 games played. For reference, he hasn’t finished a season with a .360 OBP or better since 2011, and hasn’t finished with a .300 average since 2007.

Casey Janssen, RP: 3 GP / 1-0 / 0.00 ERA  

There’s been much discussion among Nats fans about whether or not the team has a suitable bullpen option for the eighth inning. Most hoped it would be Blake Treinen (more on him later), but don’t sleep on Janssen, who’s quietly put together a solid case for manager Matt Williams. He hasn’t allowed a run in last four outings while striking out six, walking none and allowing just one hit. His control has been on point most of the season; he’s yielded only two walks in 21 appearances, both coming in his rough outing in Cincinnati in late May. Other than that, the 33-year-old righty has been every bit of the veteran presence general manager Mike Rizzo hoped he’d be.



Blake Treinen, RP:  1 GP / 0.1 IP / 4 ER 

Treinen turned in his worst outing as a reliever Sunday afternoon vs. the Dodgers, coming into a 1-0 game and allowing four runs in the top of the ninth to squash hopes of a comeback. Even worse, the hiccup earned him a trip back to Syracuse, with the club promoting farmhand Abel de los Santos to replace him. What’s interesting about the move is that Treinen hadn’t allowed a run in his previous five outings prior to Sunday, and yet he’s back in the minors to work on his consistency. So the Nats really must not have liked what they saw in that one appearance.

Tanner Roark, RP:  2 GP / 2.1 IP / 5 ER 

Two games after Treinen couldn’t hold the deficit to just one run, Roark winds up turning in an almost identical outing against the Mets. Coming into the ninth trying to keep the score 3-2, the 28-year-old right hander was charged with four runs in a third of an inning, giving New York more than enough breathing room for a win. Roark’s season has definitely been one of the wackiest of anyone on the pitching staff. He’s been asked to fill just about every role possible, from starter to long man to setup guy, even earning a save as a closer. But for as versatile as he’s shown himself to be, he’s not as consistent as he was a year ago, sporting an ERA of 4.97.

  1. veejh - Jul 23, 2015 at 12:13 PM

    Stock up, Dez?

    • nats128 - Jul 23, 2015 at 12:15 PM

      Yah, where is he?

    • Eugene in Oregon - Jul 23, 2015 at 12:26 PM

      If we’re using the stock market metaphors here, Ian Desmond was a little stronger this week, but still a hold.

  2. coop202 - Jul 23, 2015 at 12:18 PM

    Difo and Lopez for Cespedes – who blinks first? Assuming the Tigers but I’m intrigued

    • nats128 - Jul 23, 2015 at 12:50 PM

      You cant be serious. A 2 month rental for 2 of the best Minor Leaguers. Rizzo isnt stupid or desperate.

      • virginiascopist - Jul 23, 2015 at 12:59 PM

        And where would you play Cespedes? Unless we are expecting two of our starting outfielders (Harper, Span, Werth) to be out for the remainder of the season, there’s nowhere for him to play.

      • coop202 - Jul 23, 2015 at 1:22 PM

        (A) not sure why people assume werth, zimm and span will be full health rest of season but if your right I’d still rather have a power bar like cespedes for the playoffs and (B) difo grades out as a backup IF, Lopez will be a great reliever most likely. I’d argue you might be over-attached.

  3. therealjohnc - Jul 23, 2015 at 12:32 PM

    What’s interesting about the move is that Treinen hadn’t allowed a run in his previous five outings prior to Sunday, and yet he’s back in the minors to work on his consistency. So the Nats really must not have liked what they saw in that one appearance.

    Hopefully Daniel didn’t mean this seriously. As anyone who can remember Doug Slaten knows, “allowing a run” is a lousy measure of a relief pitcher’s effectiveness. So far this season Treinen has entered games with six runners on base and five of them have scored. His WHIP is 1.462. His splits against LH batters is horrific (.346/.427/.513/.940).

    It’s not just that the Nats didn’t like what they saw in that one appearance against the Dodgers. There’s plenty to not like concerning Treinen’s appearances this season.

    • nats128 - Jul 23, 2015 at 12:46 PM

      “His splits against LH batters is horrific (.346/.427/.513/.940) ”

      That has to be a big reason why he is back in the Minors.

      • nats128 - Jul 23, 2015 at 12:49 PM

        What about this guy who has a 1.374 WHIP and a LH batter slash of .305/.352/.534/.885

        He is still on the roster and has a larger sample size.

      • therealjohnc - Jul 23, 2015 at 1:22 PM

        Well, in addition to being somewhat of a non sequitur (the question was whether the Nats made a move with Treinen based on one appearance), even your numbers show tilt towards moving Treinen before the other guy (presumably Barrett).

  4. Theophilus T.S. - Jul 23, 2015 at 12:33 PM

    Desmond is a “hold,” not a “buy.”

    I do think he is slowly reversing a very bad trend. When he leaves I will sell my Nexium stock.

    Janssen is as close to an 8th inning solution as the Nats are going to get, unless they go out an over-pay for one. i don’t think there are any 8th inning guys on the market that can be had for less than a plus-level prospect, e.g., Cole. Maybe a half-year rental but even then I think they would have to give up real long-term value.

    Janssen would be a good enough 8th inning guy if Williams would actually use him that way. Williams, however, seems intent on preserving both Janssen and Thornton, in part for matching them up and in part for concern over their possible fragility. I understand that but none of the starters, except Scherzer, has shown the ability to go beyond seven innings and I think he needs to stop trying to coax extra outs from except Max. Rivero may be good for the occasional LH but I don’t trust any of the others w/ runners on base.

    Treinen has blown his opportunity for this season. Barrett blew a hold/save a couple of days ago. If Carpenter isn’t coming back soon Rizzo should seize an opportunity to pick up a reliable RH veteran if one is available at a reasonable price. Or Clippard.

    • nats128 - Jul 23, 2015 at 12:44 PM

      Clippard blew another save yesterday. His 4th blown save. He walked the bases loaded and gave up a hit. Could have been worse.

      • nats128 - Jul 23, 2015 at 12:45 PM

        Clip has converted 17 of 21 Save chances this year. Thats 81%

      • Soul Possession, My Sofa - Jul 23, 2015 at 12:52 PM

        He’s blown two in a row, but his team did win both games, so there’s that.
        He gave up a double in both games, and in the earlier of the two, he also allowed an inherited run. So it’s not like he’s getting lit up, and he’s only signed through this season, but I can’t see Beane dumping him for spare parts, either.

      • nats128 - Jul 23, 2015 at 12:54 PM

        He threw 40 pitches yesterday and labored thru that inning. 3 walks are what did him in.

        Yes, at least he didnt depart with his team behind.

      • virginiascopist - Jul 23, 2015 at 12:56 PM

        Chapman also got a loss yesterday — not a blown save; he was brought in in the top of the 9th in a tied game.

    • DaveB - Jul 23, 2015 at 12:53 PM

      How about Joaquin Benoit?
      Would be fairly expensive in terms of $ for a rental, but has proven comfortable in the setup role so wouldn’t be seen as much of a slap at Storen as a Chapman or Kimbrel, and should be a lot less expensive in terms of players.

      • virginiascopist - Jul 23, 2015 at 1:05 PM

        I’m kind of wondering if there are any long men available. With Stammen out, Treinen going down and Roark being inconsistent, it seems to me that could be more of a need than an eighth inning guy or co-closer with Storen.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2015 at 1:45 PM

        i say yes. The only thing I don’t like about Benoit is the mileage on his arm. He’s almost 38 years old. Reminds me a lot of Thornton though. Good velo and splits which defies logic given his age.

  5. nats128 - Jul 23, 2015 at 12:39 PM

    “Ghost of Steve M. – Jul 22, 2015 at 2:02 PM
    Good contact by MAT. His RISP BA is good but his overall BA is not.”

    GoSM, I saw that during yesterdays game thread and you have brought it up many times that RZ, MAT, Span, Ramos, and T-Mo do much better in RISP spots than in normal spots and others say over time that it evens out.

    What I noticed is that this is a overall team phenomenom that with bases empty they bat .261 RISP vs .244 and even more dramatic is the OPS which goes from .688 to .735 in RISP.

    Heres a sampling of RISP for players over 25 ABs:

    MAT .389
    DSpan . 382
    Harp .338
    Ramos .299
    T-Mo .296
    Uggla .267
    Esco .264 <
    RZ .250
    Werth .241
    CRob .231 <
    Espi .179 <
    Desi .125 <

    Only 4 players batting well below normal BA

    • nats128 - Jul 23, 2015 at 12:41 PM

      Correction: What I noticed is that this is a overall team phenomenom that they bat .261 RISP vs .244 bases empty and even more dramatic is the OPS which goes from .688 to .735 in RISP.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2015 at 1:41 PM

      Using .261 as the team average also tells you who your leaders are.

      TyMo has more RBIs than CRob with less ABs. That’s the head scratcher as TyMo plays better defense and is better in the clutch than CRob but rarely gets a start. Sure CRob hits better overall but knocking in runs from the middle of the order is a premium just as defense is.

    • adcwonk - Jul 23, 2015 at 2:05 PM

      This might help explain why the Nats are 10th (!!) in BA (in NL), 7th in OBA, SLG, OPS, and yet 4th in runs/game (!!)

      • nats128 - Jul 23, 2015 at 4:22 PM

        Make it work while it counts. Great point adcwonk!

  6. jfmii - Jul 23, 2015 at 12:56 PM

    nats128, “What about this guy who has a 1.374 WHIP and a LH batter slash of .305/.352/.534/.885

    He is still on the roster and has a larger sample size.” To whom are you referring? Roark?

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2015 at 1:37 PM

      I just checked WHIPs and that matches to Roark and solves that Jeopardy quiz answer with Who Is Tanner Roark?

  7. NatsLady - Jul 23, 2015 at 1:07 PM

    If the Red Sox are sellers, how about Koji Uehara?

    Keith Law was on Buster Olney’s podcast and the subject of the O’s trading Gausman came up. Law didn’t think it was a good idea–and then he really ripped the O’s for “ruining” Gausman’s value by bopping him up and down and also changing his mechanics, moving him to the other side of the rubber, etc. Thought he might be a good match for the Padres, who are not completely out of it.

    • alexva6 - Jul 23, 2015 at 1:24 PM

      I thought about him the other day. only issue is his contract is through next year at 9M

      a lot of chatter re the O’s handling of Gausman. nothing I can get a handle on because I can’t stand to even think about the team.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2015 at 1:34 PM

        He went from a #1 prospect to a struggling pitcher with an undefined role. Good job Oreos.

      • natsnatsnatswoo - Jul 23, 2015 at 2:53 PM

        Sounds just like Detwiler. Sometimes it’s the pitcher’s fault, not the organization’s.

  8. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2015 at 1:11 PM

    Billy Beane just traded Kazmir to Astros

    • chaz11963 - Jul 23, 2015 at 1:46 PM

      Looks like a great trade for the Astros. They didn’t give up any of their top prospects- and they have tons of them

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2015 at 1:47 PM

        Yep and they’re not done. Kazmir is also a solid teammate.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jul 23, 2015 at 2:30 PM

        I think it odd that they traded him to an inter-division team. He’s a terrific middle of the rotation pitcher.

      • chaz11963 - Jul 23, 2015 at 2:56 PM

        Astros have done a lot of trades with Beane over the past couple of years.

  9. alexva6 - Jul 23, 2015 at 1:15 PM

    though not the sexy pick, Janssen is the only viable option I see on the roster right now due to the experience factor. maybe Rivero and/or Barrett continues to develop but I’d be worried about them come playoff time.

    Clippard is an experienced 8th inning guy whose presence would improve our chances. I trust Rizzo to be able to recognize talent on the other teams and not to overpay more than need be.

    and I just don’t see how you can bring in Chapman and demote Storen again.

    • virginiascopist - Jul 23, 2015 at 1:20 PM

      If Rizzo does make a deal for Chapman (big “if”), I think the hope would be that he would become a co-closer with Drew based on match-ups, like the Yankees seem to be handling Miller and Betances. I don’t think that would upset Drew too much (especially given his lefty splits).

      • alexva6 - Jul 23, 2015 at 1:27 PM

        maybe, but Miller is getting 75% of the chances. not sure that would work here.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2015 at 1:33 PM

        That’s what I suggested based on 8th inning matchups if the starter is out of the game before then.

      • natsnatsnatswoo - Jul 23, 2015 at 1:35 PM

        Many more than half of batters are RH, so making Drew a “co-closer” based on LH splits would be a major demotion for him. Not gonna happen.

  10. rlndtln - Jul 23, 2015 at 1:46 PM

    Not only that but MW uses Uggla ahead of TMO to pinch hit.That is hard to figure.

  11. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2015 at 1:57 PM

    “From Ken Rosenthal: #Padres officially are sellers. Venable, Benoit also could move, along with Kimbrel and any of SPs, with Ross perhaps least likely. Biggest needs are SS and CF.”

    JUp is also available. Ironic biggest needs include SS where they traded Trea Turner.

    Rizzo could trade them Difo.

    • adcwonk - Jul 23, 2015 at 2:19 PM

      Man, it is really amazing to see how quickly the Padres GM destroyed that team. He’s been on the job for just under a year.

      Getting Ross and Turner is only one of a number of real bone-headed moves he’s made. (I wonder if Ross/Turner, however, was the worst one, from the Padres point of view)

      Somebody here posted this a week or so ago — if you haven’t seen it: — where the author argues that the Ross/Turner trade was far from the worst.

      Not only have the Padres traded away a bunch of decent players (Jace Peterson, Maybrin), but they decimated their farm.

      Money quote (in discussing their prospects):

      “Per Baseball America, the Padres traded away their no. 1 (Wisler), no. 2 (Turner), no. 4 (Ross), no. 6 (Fried), no. 9 (Eflin), no. 10 (Jace Peterson), no. 15 (Bauers), no. 16 (Mallex Smith), no. 21 (Dustin Peterson), no. 23 (Burch Smith), and no. 30 (Barbato) prospects, along with the 41st pick in the draft.”

  12. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2015 at 1:58 PM

    From Jeff Passan: “While teams don’t believe any deals are close with Ben Zobrist or Tyler Clippard, both will be traded in the coming days. A matter of time.”

  13. rlndtln - Jul 23, 2015 at 1:59 PM

    Chapman would give you great flexibility.No closer for one can close everyday.Also Chapmsn can come in when you need a strike out.They are your 8th and 9th relievers.Why is this so complicated.Then you have Rivero,Barrett,Jansen,Thornton to match up in the 6th and 7th.Roark is your long guy.This would be our answer as it takes the pressure off the others who do not have to pitch a complete inning.

    • adcwonk - Jul 23, 2015 at 2:22 PM

      We all need to get real re: Chapman — it would cost a whole lot to get him. He’s only 27, he won’t be a free agent until 2017, and 29 other teams would love to have him.

      • rlndtln - Jul 23, 2015 at 2:54 PM

        We have the prospects to get him.Prospects are just that.Look at the young pitchers we keep parading to the big league.I would trade any of them including Ross.Chapman can give us the shot we need for the 2015-2017.

      • adcwonk - Jul 23, 2015 at 3:27 PM

        Ross is one of the guys who’s going to be replacing JZ and Fister next year.

  14. rlndtln - Jul 23, 2015 at 4:16 PM

    I am trying to win this year.I think in a trade you must give up something to get someone of value.If Ross and whoever is in a trade for Chapman we would have gotten Chapman and Turner for Souza and who ever else we have to give up.Sounds good to me.Giolito should be our number 4 starter next year.Tanner Roark would better better as a 5th starter than the bullpen.You have your 5 starters.

  15. pdowdy83 - Jul 23, 2015 at 4:47 PM

    I would look at Joaquin Benoit, Joakim Soria or Brad Ziegler.

    Benoit and Ziegler both have options for next season which makes them slightly more useful IMO. Ziegler especially because $5.5mm isn’t terrible with all of the money coming off the books next year. THough I haven’t seen indications of Ziegler being moved.

    • pdowdy83 - Jul 23, 2015 at 4:51 PM

      Also John Jaso could be a fit for the left handed bat/other 1st base option people seem to be after if the Rays decide to sell. He would also provide the ability to allow Ramos to pinch hit on his days off because you would have a 3rd catcher on the roster.

  16. rlndtln - Jul 23, 2015 at 11:20 PM

    Looks like Desi caught a bull market thursday night,





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