Oct 4, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals relief pitcher Tanner Roark (57) pitches in the 17th inning against the San Francisco Giants in game two of the 2014 NLDS playoff baseball game at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: H. Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports
Tanner Roark: Cons
Moving Roark back to the rotation doesn’t come without its pitfalls, though. For one thing, there’s a strong chance that having Tanner fill in could result in him quickly joining Fister on the disabled list for an extended period of time. It’s already been mentioned that Williams has been unwilling to push Roark into spot starts due to the fact that he isn’t stretched out enough. If that’s the case, flipping him back and forth from reliever to starter and back again would do far more harm than good.
There’s also the state of the bullpen that has to be examined here. While it’s true that using A.J. Cole as the temporary starter could tax the bullpen if he struggles, moving Roark out of his current role could do even more damage. The bullpen has had enough trouble with the lack of defined roles since the Nationals lost Casey Janssen. The last thing they need to do is to rip one of the sturdier pieces out from under the wobbling table that’s been Washington’s late-inning pitching.
It’s been more than obvious that the Nats have struggled to eat up all of the innings that Soriano, Tyler Clippard, and Ross Detwiler ate up from 2014. Even when Casey Janssen joins the team and is able to perform the role he was acquired to fill, the Nationals are still thin in the bullpen. Removing one of the few productive pieces of that puzzle would only undo what the Nats have managed to build up over the course of the early part of the season, as little as it may be.
Next: Case For A.J. Cole