After today, there are just 10 slots left and many more than 10 qualified candidates. It's refreshing to see so many qualified veterans (and young guys for that matter) in Nats camp this year. But today, the honors go to Chad Gaudin.
Why?: Gaudin was a big addition to camp for Mike Rizzo this offseason, because it provided competition to the Nats on two fronts. Many (me included) considered Craig Stammen to be basically a lock on the long reliever role for this season. However, the addition of Gaudin to the equation added real competition to the process. Gaudin has also started a number of games in his career, 75 starts over the course of 8 seasons to be exact. So with Gaudin in camp, he realistically had the opportunity to compete for multiple pitching roles.
Gaudin pitched enough innings this spring to be in the same conversation as Marquis, Detwiler, Maya, and Zimmermann. Not bad company as far as the starting rotation conversation goes. In his 11 innings pitched this spring, he's given up 12 hits and 5 earned runs, and has the worst ERA among that same competition.
What to expect?: Gaudin has been great in small doses this season, and certainly has the stamina to be an emergency starter.
After the Nats lost Miguel Batista last year to free agency, we think that Chad Gaudin will fill Batista's old role as a long reliever and spot starter. Craig Stammen has remaining options, and we think he'll start the season in AAA Syracuse.
Here's hoping that Gaudin can have a Mr. Iowa moment this year.