Washington Nationals: Breaking down the fifth starter candidates
3 – The Field
After Ross and Fedde there are not too many options the Washington Nationals have for the fifth starter spot, but there are a few guys who could shock us this spring and claim the role.
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The best bet out of any long shot would probably be Henderson Alvarez. The former Miami Marlin last pitched in the big leagues in 2017 for the Philadelphia Phillies, where he appeared in only three games. Battling his way back to the big-leagues, Alvarez got a spring training invite from the Nats.
It remains to be seen what his stuff will look like this spring, but he was an All-Star in 2014 for Miami so you never know if he will be able to regain his old form. Look at Nationals new starter Anibal Sanchez who revived his career last season and looked back to his old self. Every year there seem to be two or three pitchers who make it back to the big leagues and have success again, and there’s nothing to say Alvarez won’t be that guy.
After Alvarez, another name to look out for would be Austin Voth who got some time in the big league with the Nats at the end of last season. He was able to bounce back from a woeful 2017 season last year and if he can continue to refine his craft, he will be solid rotation depth at the very least.
Another avenue to consider would be Washington bringing in a current free agent to compete for the job. Don’t rule out a possible reunion with Jeremy Hellickson if both sides are able to agree on a cheap, one-year deal. Although you can never rule it out, it seems unlikely Alvarez or Voth would win the starting spot this spring unless something for-seen happens in the near future.
Chance someone from the field is the fifth starter: 15%
There’s no doubt the Washington Nationals rotation must improve greatly in 2019. Hopefully, one of the options mentioned above will regularly give them a chance to win, which is all you can ask for from the final rotation spot.