It’s starting to seem pretty clear what pitchers will be departing Viera with the Nationals in the coming days, though things aren’t quite set in stone just yet. Naturally some of the names were obvious. We know the rotation at this point and what order they’ll pitch in* and have some fairly safe guesses on some key pieces in the bullpen. But there were always a few questions marks heading into Spring Training and we had no idea what kind of injury concerns the team would have to address.
Under normal circumstances that final pitcher would be Drew Storen, the team’s closer, but he’s likely starting the season on the DL which means there’s another opening, albeit for just 2-3 weeks.
There seems to be some competition for that final spot between Ryan Mattheus, Craig Stammen, and non-roster invitee Chad Durbin. Durbin, who signed a minor league deal and adds another veteran presence in addition to Lidge, seems to have the edge at the moment, though there is a growing sentiment among the DoD staff for Stammen to win that spot. Mattheus will likely join Ryan Perry in the Syracuse bullpen to start the season, providing depth when needed.
* In case you missed it, Gio Gonzalez is being lined up to start the home opener. It looks like the rotation will go Stephen Strasburg, Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Edwin Jackson, John Lannan. I’d of flipped Zimmermann and Strasburg, but that’s just me. I think Zimmermann’s earned an Opening Day start at this point in his career.