Could Stammen find his role changing slightly?

We've talked about how Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano's departures create a hole at the back end of the Nationals bullpen, and how roles might have to be adjusted this upcoming season.

There are certainly guys who could be used in higher leverage situations, should they prove they are capable of handling the load. We've mentioned Casey Janssen, Matt Thornton, Aaron Barrett, Blake Treinen and others as possibilities, with Janssen looking like the most likely eighth-inning option.

Should the starting rotation as it's currently assembled stay intact, Craig Stammen also could potentially be used in slightly more of a set-up role in 2015 than he has in the past.

stammen-looking-for-sign-intense-white-front-sidebar.jpgIf Tanner Roark does indeed head to the bullpen to begin the 2015 season, the Nats will want to keep his arm stretched out in case Max Scherzer, Jordan Zimmermann, Stephen Strasburg, Doug Fister or Gio Gonzalez end up on the disabled list at some point during the year.

Roark would likely serve as a right-handed long reliever, which is the role that Stammen has filed the past few years. And that could potentially free Stammen up to potentially get some work in more of a set-up role.

That's not a role that Stammen has handled much.

In 2014, only 11 of his 49 appearances came when the Nats either led by three runs or fewer or were tied in the seventh inning or later. Six of those 11 appearances came in extra innings when Stammen was often called upon to give the Nats multiple innings of work.

So Stammen only appeared in the seventh through ninth innings in a game in which the Nats were tied or had a one- to three-run run lead five times all season.

Stammen has been so effective in his long relief/swingman role in the past that the Nats might be hesitant to move him into more of a seventh-inning set-up position. And with Janssen now aboard, there isn't as much of a hole at the back of the bullpen as there was a few days ago.

But given the way he's pitched the last three seasons, and given Roark's potential move to the bullpen, Stammen might get a shot to handle some higher-leverage spots in 2015.

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