What worked for Dusty Baker down the stretch will get a hard look this spring.
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Washington is thrilled Kintzler stayed with the Nats. Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle over a full season are a thrill to watch. Will we see them in the same roles? West Palm Beach is not the best environment for that. Yes, Doolittle might earn a few fourth-inning spots early as closer. But, spring for those three is getting work in.
Losing Matt Albers is big. Whatever role the Nats needed him last year, he filled. Including an occasional save. Just a remarkable year.
Albers’ replacement is already on the team. Watch to see what Shawn Kelley, Koda Glover and Enny Romero do. Kelley is coming off a serious arm injury and hopes to pitch his way on the roster. Glover and Romero light up radar guns and the strike zone. They are future closers.
How the pair handle added expectation says a bunch on how deep the Nats pen is. Every team can use an additional arm. No matter how strong you think you are, a careless loss exposes a weakness. Washington hopes Kelley can return to an old form while Glover learned from pitching through injury.
If Romero learns to mix his off-speed stuff with his electric fastball, the sky is the limit. A healthy Sammy Solis only adds to Washington’s depth.
A strong spring gives Washington confidence. This pen has potential. How they get used is interesting.