SMOOTH OVER TANNER ROARK
One of the biggest surprises of the playoffs was Tanner Roark not pitching.
After the original Game 4 was rained out, Baker was correct going with Stephen Strasburg with the season on the line. How that start was handled, along with Roark not pitching in Game 5 with a fresh arm, is subject to debate.
You cannot blame Roark if he is upset. A strong second-half of 2017 deserved playoff baseball. With a 7-5 record down the stretch, and a WHIP of 1.190, to bungle his usage is mystifying.
At 31, he may be professional enough to understand these things happen. Still, it is important for Martinez to sit him down and reassure Roark he is an important part of the 2018 Nats team.
This was a year Roark would like to forget. The World Baseball Classic experience threw off his timing, and he struggled the first half.
Unless Washington signs a top pitcher in free agency or scores one in a trade, Roark has an important role this year. Depending on Gio Gonzalez, a strong Roark can be a solid three pitcher who can be a two in case of injury.
Martinez must reassure Roark of his importance and soothe and bad feeling from last year. When pitchers and catchers report West Palm Beach, everybody needs to be on the same page.