The Nationals had been considered one of the favorites to host the 2015 All-Star Game. That won’t be happening, however.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the Reds will be given the Midsummer Classic in 2015, likely leaving D.C. out of the All-Star Game picture until at least 2017.
The league office prefers that the All-Star Game alternates between American League and National League cities on a year-to-year basis.
The Mets will host this year’s All-Star Game at Citi Field, the 2014 game will be played at Target Field in Minnesota and now Cincinnati appears set to have the 2015 Midsummer Classic at the Great American Ballpark.
At least the Home Run Derby should be entertaining in that bandbox in Cincy. We’ve all got that going for us.
Former Nationals outfielder Elijah Dukes has been arrested for apparently failing to appear in court on several drug and traffic charges, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
The troubled 28-year-old played two seasons with the Nats from 2008-09, appearing in 188 games in that time. He batted .250 with eight home runs and 58 RBIs with the Nationals in 2009 and has not appeared in the major leagues since.
With the Nationals still having just one left-handed reliever on their 40-man roster, I’ve gotten a number of questions from fans over the last couple weeks about whether the team would consider adding another starter and moving Ross Detwiler to the bullpen.
It’s even an idea which FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal mentions in his latest column, with one “rival executive” suggesting that the Nats could sign free agent righty Kyle Lohse and then bump Detwiler to a relief role.
Personally, I don’t see that idea making a whole lot of sense.
Detwiler put together a pretty strong 2012 campaign as a starter, his first full season in the big leagues, going 10-8 with a 3.40 ERA in 164 1/3 innings. He also threw six shutout innings in Game 4 of the National League Division Series, a dynamite performance those within the organization won’t soon forget.
Why take a former first-round pick who is still just 26 and have him switch roles when he seems to be putting it all together as a starter? Why mess with the career path of what could be a strong middle- to top-of-the-rotation starter?
As Mike Rizzo has pointed out a number of times this offseason, the Nats have a few righties in their bullpen with great so-called reverse splits, meaning they excel against left-handed hitters. Tyler Clippard, Ryan Mattheus and Craig Stammen could all be called upon to face a tough left-handed batter in a big spot.
The Nationals already have their left-handed long reliever in Zach Duke. If they were to add another lefty to the ‘pen, they’d want more of a late-inning guy to fill the job Sean Burnett had in recent seasons. Neither Detwiler nor Duke seems to fit that role.
While Detwiler’s career splits indicate that he could be effective as a full-time reliever (4.02 ERA in 304 1/3 innings as starter, 1.11 ERA in 32 1/3 innings as a reliever), putting him in the ‘pen could set his career back. When you have a talented young left-hander who’s having some success as a starter, you increase his innings and hope he takes that next step, not cut his innings in half.
Detwiler and Gio Gonzalez give the Nats two left-handers in the rotation to complement three right-handers, a good balance. Detwiler’s still young, and as Rosenthal points out, his ERA-plus from last season (117) doesn’t trail Lohse’s (134) by much.
The Nats would be wise to leave Detwiler be.
Update: The Blue Jays have announced they’ve signed Mark DeRosa to a one-year, $750,000 deal that includes a club option for 2014.
DeRosa appeared in 48 games for the Nationals last season, posting a slash line of .188/.300/.247. Much of his impact on the Nats was felt off the field, as he mentored a number of the team’s younger players and was a valuable presence in a tight clubhouse.
The 37-year-old was beloved by teammates and club personnel, his happy-go-lucky personality helping to keep guys on an even-keel. His pregame antics will be missed, especially the karaoke singalongs. With DeRosa and Michael Morse both gone, the back right corner of the Nats’ clubhouse will likely be a much quieter place in 2013.