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Wait! Martis Demoted To Class AAA, Stammen Back In Rotation

Since spring training ended, the Washington Nationals have relied every fifth day on rookie pitcher Shairon Martis. They've trumpeted him as a central component of the team's future. For much of 2009, Martis has also looked like a central part of the team's present.

But today, following a 5-3 win against Baltimore, Washington demoted its 22-year-old right-hander, the final and most surprising part of some major pitcher-reshuffling. Martis's departure clears room on the 25-man roster for Scott Olsen (shoulder tendinitis), who is coming off the disabled list to start Monday's series-opener against Florida. Martis's departure also means that Craig Stammen, another rookie pitcher, will keep his spot in the rotation -- a reversal of Washington's original plan. Just a day earlier, the Nationals had bumped Stammen into the bullpen, an indication that they'd remove a reliever from their roster, not Martis.

"We do see [Martis] as a very valuable pitcher, not only for now but for a lot of years to come," Manager Manny Acta said. "He's a big part of our future, and he'll be back over here real soon. Right now we just feel that he has to go back to what got him over here, which was being more aggressive in the strike zone... Right now he's got more walks than strikeouts, and that is not what got him here. The reason why we liked him so much is the fact that he's a strike-thrower, and he's not doing it right now."

The whiplash decision-making means that Stammen, who spent today's game in the bullpen -- even warming up at one point -- will now start Tuesday. It also means that Martis (5-3, 5.25 ERA) will need to earn his way back. Martis, building on a dominant spring training, started the season 5-0 and impressed the front office with his aggressiveness. But since his May 13 victory against San Francisco, Martis is 0-3 with a 6.34 ERA. In those eight starts, he's walked 22 and struck out just 13.

Acting general manager Mike Rizzo said of the move, "It's [about] taking care of the young pitchers." The move, too, rewards Washington's young pitchers -- especially Stammen and Ross Detwiler, who have out-pitcher Martis since joining the rotation in mid-May.

A disappointed Martis, after learning the news of his demotion, declined comment. Stammen learned that he would return to the rotation, after a strange one-day odyssey into the bullpen, when a small group of reporters informed him.

"Oh cool," Stammen said. "That's the first time I've heard of it. I really don't know what's going on. I'll do whatever, I guess. I thought I was gonna be in the bullpen for a while, but I guess it was only one day."

By Chico Harlan  |  June 28, 2009; 6:00 PM ET
 
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Comments

Sullen? You might be sullen, too, if you'd been sent down to the obituaries department. Hope that Martis finds his way back up here one day.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 28, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Sullen? Why? They are still the last of last place teams. The worst of the worst. Only a few players consistent enough to be Major Leaguers? Martis will have a lot of competition in Syracuse. The Nats ace, the pitcher with the best record of all pitchers above and below, JD Martin. A revitalized Colin Balester. And now Mock looks very much like the starting ace the Nats have been missing. Martis better stow it and be ready to get to work.

Now the Nats will feature 3 left handed starters (including Lannan the ace), and only 2 right handed starter.

Posted by: periculum | June 28, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

AND the improve pitching has paid off handsomely in Syracuse where the team has risen from around 4th place in their division to 1st place. Mostly because Balester and Mock have now given JD Martin some competition. Estrada follows and isn't bad. Now add Martis.

AAA Syracuse has come back from the basement and into 1st place.

Posted by: periculum | June 28, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

I believe that this is the right move. Not saying that Hanrahan and Colome (sp?) should stay! Sure do wish Hanrahan had some options left.

Posted by: NickfromGermantown | June 28, 2009 6:30 PM | Report abuse

"It's [about] taking care of the young pitchers."

Really? So then what was it about yesterday, when you announced a different move?

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | June 28, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Out of curiosity: How does one "out-pitcher" another player? Does he fill (or empty) the glass better and/or faster?

Posted by: Wooden_U_Lykteneau | June 28, 2009 6:36 PM | Report abuse

this club's upper management couldn't properly coordinate a one-car funeral. rizz, we could really do without the stanspeak. thanx.

Posted by: surly_w | June 28, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Nats FO: The blind leading the naked.

Posted by: Section505203 | June 28, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

One tends to think that if they were in charge of picking a new Pope, they'd send up grey smoke through the chimney.

Posted by: Ted_Striker | June 28, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse

One tends to think that if they were in charge of picking a new Pope, they'd send up grey smoke through the chimney.

Posted by: Ted_Striker | June 28, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse
--------------------------------------------
Candidate for Comment of the Week

Posted by: joemktg1 | June 28, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Great win today! Dunn, Zimm'n, Willingham (way to run, Josh!)Elijah and The Man from Caro, Georgia give The Sienna Saint some run support! Nice hold by Beilmel and MacDougal! And a Ruthian blast from Dunn -over the scoreboard onto Eutaw Street, only the 50th time that has happened in 18 years, which is, what, aomething like 2,818 games, counting the strike shortened 112 (1994) and 144 (1995) game seasons. I'm pulling for him to surpass Ruth with another 40 home run season - another reason for watching the team we love.

Posted by: flynnie2 | June 28, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

I totally agree with Section505203 and Surly2. I was at Martis's last start Saturday night in Baltimore, and there was nothing wrong with him that a six-run first inning and decent defense wouldn't have cured. Gonzo's two-out error-that-wasn't called should have ended the fifth inning. Instead it led to a three-run homer. The Nats had the bases-loaded twice and didn't score thereafter. Manny can't/won't/doesn't care about bunting, moving a runner over, giving up an at-bat, just waits for the three-run homer. Rizzo is a baseball lifer stooge who's too busy sucking up to StanK and the Lerners to even ask for the gig, full-time. The blind leading the naked, that's perfect, Section505203. Martis has shown guts the entire season, hasn't missed a turn and is 5-and-freaking-2, winning nearly 25 percent of this club's games. So we demote him. This is madness, insanity, the nuts leading the nuts. I kind of hope now we just go on that inevitable 13-game losing streak and Manny Houseman can go back to his lovely dream job of bench-coaching that bunch of brain-dead Caribbeans, the Mets. A perfect match of idiots.

Not only that, I hope the Yanks mash the Mets and Livan Cheeseburger 15-1 tonight. Could happen.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | June 28, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Belly-hard, Column B, Gascanrahan, Kearnsy.

Why on god's green earth are any of them still here?

And please, please stop wishing for Bergy to be recalled. I've seen enough 2-and-11 Bergy to last my lifetime. Enough.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | June 28, 2009 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Periculum,

You have one serious man crush on JD Martin. You must be his agent. Or maybe you are JD Martin posting anonymously.

50 more days till Strasburg deadline. 19 more wins to pass the 62 Mets. Hope springs eternal.

Posted by: natsguy | June 28, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

God Bless the Nats FO. They are amazing.
But no time to rest.
Now please give an extension to Manny "B-Cox J-Tor" Acta. I mean come on. They took 1 of 3 from the Os. What more can you ask?
Also FO don't forget to please give Austin "Mr Hard Worker" Kearns a 5-year say $25 Mill extension.
Cmon FO you're on a roll. Don't blow it now.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 28, 2009 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Baseball question for the more astute posters here:

On the play where Wieters airmailed the throw into left filed to allow Willingham to score, Dukes ducked.
Is he required to get out of the way/step out of the box/duck?

I remember a situation similar to that against the Red Sox, but don't remember if the batter moved or not. If I'm Dukes, I just stand there and let them throw it around my big behind...

Posted by: TimDz | June 28, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Dukes isn't required to do anything, the batters box is his.

Posted by: natsguy | June 28, 2009 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Looking at it honestly, I just don't think Martis has major league stuff. Watching his past few outings, it's been hard to see how he gets guys out. The walks are unacceptable. I think Martis is a better option than Olsen; unfortunately, we have to keep Olsen around because he has no options. This looks like they feel Martis is not a bullpen pitcher and that Stammen gives them a better chance to win games.

I do feel bad for Martis, though, because he's going to have a hard time making it back competing against the Balester, Martin, Mock rotation that's already at Syracuse.

Hope Syracuse continues to have a good year in the International League and attract some trade interest in our AAAA pitching staff down there.

Posted by: souldrummer | June 28, 2009 8:42 PM | Report abuse

If I were Martis i'd ask to be traded yeah that's right get me the fu&k up ouuta here away from these no-nothing jackass's masquerading as upper management. Acta's a punk you're telling me that the kid ain't trying,last week at Yankee stadium or whatever they're calling it now he had a 3-2 lead and Acta turns the game over to the bullpen and they promptly blow the game.The kid is tied for the most wins on the squad and you're gonna send him down oh he's got more walks then strikes really i wonder why? could it be the dysfunctional state of the coaching staff or could it be the the porous defense which happens to lead the league in errors and at any time can undermine any starting pitcher's credible effort.This team the whole lot of them are a freakin joke no wonder we're thirty games under .500 and Mike Rizzo when go home tonite you look at yourself in the mirror and see if the reflection is that of a real baseball man because a real baseball man would not have allowed that bullsh$t to happen today.

Posted by: dargregmag | June 28, 2009 8:58 PM | Report abuse

It's a good move, but I do think Stammen would be more valuable in the bullpen if he can pitch there every third day. A decade or so ago it was not uncommon to have one or two long releivers who pitched every third day. Each could pitch 2-3 innings as needed and instead of using 5 relievers each night you might only use two. If our starters can only go 6 innings and you can pitch Stammen and Clippard for 2 innings on an alternating basis then suddenly you have well rested short men in MacDougal and Beimel to come in late.

Martis can be a valuable pitcher in this league, but he needs to throw strikes. I didn't realize his stats had grown so bad, but it makes sense. He was exhausting to watch and the games were going long. Work fast, throw strikes.

Still, I think it is past time to set Colome free. When he took a long time to throw the ball but was being effective it was still annoying. Now that he's taking a long time and giving up runs it's just unbearable. And, it's always after last call. He's killing me.

Posted by: natbiscuits | June 28, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Come on Peeps, Time to give props to the FO.
Seriously, they're thinking of trading for Nyjer Morgan. Now we're talkin.
I mean we finally have a shot at Nyjer Morgan.
This is amazing. I don't think a day went by last week when my homies and me weren't discussing the stats of Nyjer Morgan. That dude can ball.
Our FO is really on a roll now.
We finally have some peeps in charge who know what they're doing.

It won't be long now friends. You can almost hear it:
And now batting second for the Nationals, left fielder Nyjer Morgan. We're that close.
Happy Days are here again.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 28, 2009 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Rizzo's decisiveness really gives me confidence that the Nats know what they are doing with Detwiler, too. I mean really, they are doing such a good job demonstrating that they know what's best for these kid pitchers' long-term development, right?

And Ross is certainly tearing things up with that 5.25 ERA and 1.5 WHIP. No way would he be better off developing in the minors after his awesome display of dominance at Potomac last season.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | June 28, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

NYJER, NYJER, NYJER, NYJER, NYJER......
it's a beautiful thing.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 28, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Now, that was funny. The irony attempts, not so much, IMO.

---

And, it's always after last call. He's killing me.

Posted by: natbiscuits | June 28, 2009 9:11 PM |

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 28, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

By some other posters, I meant. Anyhoo.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 28, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Er,

Young pitcher, who has been in the rotation since day one, has a high pitch count being sent down. He can go and work on what he's learned, take it easy and come back stronger when Detweiler needs a break. This is a really smart baseball move. What's the controversy?

Posted by: soundbloke | June 28, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

I think the only reason Martis got sent down was because he had options. Yeah, he was nibbling too much, but I still think it makes more sense to DFA Colome or Hanrahan.

Colome, I don't know, I see some decent stuff, decent movement on his pitches but an inability to throw in the area he intends to throw in. Too much "I don't know where this is going" from that guy.

Hanrahan, I'm sorry, I've watched this guy ever since he came up and I just don't think he's there mentally. I don't care how hard you throw, if you can't throw strikes, if you're tentative and give in to hitters, if you can't pitch in game situations, you can't be a successful pitcher in the majors, especially from the bullpen. Some people like him, fine. But I've seen MORE than enough and at 27 he's not going to get any better mentally.

Posted by: kingrob76 | June 28, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Tough to see Martis go down, but he has had some rough innings lately, which unfortunately for us, is usually enough to cost a ball game.

I wonder how much his arm will take this year -- remember he pitched at World Baseball for Netherlands (how'd that work out for Daisuke?). I also think that helped him in the early part of the season, since he was already mentally ready for the season to start (thank god someone was).

Now get your stuff together, learn to work quickly and go back to throwing strikes, kid! Hopefully see you back up here soon. You've shown a lot already this year, and if you're not back, you're good-looking trade bait.

Posted by: mo_dc | June 28, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Right. This is good. He can learn to attack the zone in the minors pitching three innings a game or get shelled in the majors.

Posted by: soundbloke | June 28, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

"I wonder how much his arm will take this year -- remember he pitched at World Baseball for Netherlands (how'd that work out for Daisuke?)."

Actually Martis declined the chance to pitch in the WBC this year and came to spring training instead. He did pitch for the Netherlands in the WBC in 2006 and threw a no-hitter.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 28, 2009 11:28 PM | Report abuse

I don't have a problem with this decision at all. It gets Martis starting every five days instead of having to change his mindset to become a bullpen guy. Don't mess with young pitchers like that.

I have a problem that they announced a different (wrong) decision and then reversed it.

Posted by: Section506 | June 29, 2009 12:20 AM | Report abuse

Have a great week with this win as the launching pad, everybody. My Lovely Wife just pointed out that I counted total season games (approx. 2,818) and not home games (1,409) for the number of chances we had to see the 50 Ruthian blasts onto Eutaw Street like the one that Adam Dunn hit to put the Nats up for good today.

Posted by: flynnie2 | June 29, 2009 12:39 AM | Report abuse

The thing with J.D. Martin is: With Martis and all the other up-and-comers at Syracuse, if the Nats are not going to take a look at Martin, why is he there? If a guy who's kicked around seems to have found it at AAA, now's the time to bring him up and take a look for a couple of starts. Obviously, there's not a darn thing to lose. Do that, and keep Stammen in the pen until they see how it works out. You don't have to be in love with Martin to favor such a move.

Posted by: nats24 | June 29, 2009 12:49 AM | Report abuse

Thanks to EdDC for this: http://tinyurl.com/lwqh9d Jon Heyman's Best and Worst Free Agents on SI.com has Adam Dunn at 14th best in MLB and . . . Felipe Lopez as 15th best. He's batting .304 in Arizona. Just as I read it, I saw him let a ball go through his legs on Sportscenter allowing an Angels run in a game the Diamondbacks lost.

Posted by: flynnie2 | June 29, 2009 12:55 AM | Report abuse

Martin is not on the 40 man roster and somone has to go for him to be added. If you look at Baseball America he is described as having a fastball with no movement. He is also a flyball pitcher which is something that Rizzo hates. Thats why Martis is going down.

Posted by: natsguy | June 29, 2009 2:35 AM | Report abuse

Something for your MRL:

http://www.piratesreport.com/page/blogs.detail/display/147/Morgan-for-Milledge--Go-for-it.html

How I wish John Perrotto WAS the GM of the Buckos.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | June 29, 2009 6:40 AM | Report abuse

dargregmag: "If I were Martis i'd ask to be traded yeah that's right get me the fu&k up ouuta here away from these no-nothing jackass's masquerading as upper management. Acta's a punk you're telling me that the kid ain't trying,last week at Yankee stadium or whatever they're calling it now he had a 3-2 lead and Acta turns the game over to the bullpen and they promptly blow the game.The kid is tied for the most wins on the squad and you're gonna send him down oh he's got more walks then strikes really i wonder why? could it be the dysfunctional state of the coaching staff or could it be the the porous defense which happens to lead the league in errors and at any time can undermine any starting pitcher's credible effort.This team the whole lot of them are a freakin joke no wonder we're thirty games under .500 and Mike Rizzo when go home tonite you look at yourself in the mirror and see if the reflection is that of a real baseball man because a real baseball man would not have allowed that bullsh$t to happen today."
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dargregmag, punctuation can be your friend. You should try it sometime.

Posted by: gilbertbp | June 29, 2009 7:51 AM | Report abuse

I keep wondering if this Langerhans trade might be a signal that an additional trade might be coming -- sort of a Morse Code....

Posted by: natbiscuits | June 29, 2009 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Not really. It was a straight up competition to stay up in the bigs. All five starters have boat loads of options.

*********

I think the only reason Martis got sent down was because he had options.

Posted by: kingrob76 | June 28, 2009 10:36 PM

Posted by: NatsNut | June 29, 2009 8:32 AM | Report abuse

That's funny. Sounds like your wife has her head in the game, Flynnie. :-D

Also, speaking of ex-Nats players like Lopez, the OP has an item about Luis Ayala today. Seems that before the Twins DFA-ed him he complained to the skip that he wasn't getting enough late-inning chances, which would have enabled him to get a better contract for next year. The piece also notes that he blew leads in his first two seventh-inning chances. There were a couple of choice Gardenhire quotes in the item. I liked this one: "When you walk into my office and tell me you don't like your role -- and he talked about his contract for next year -- you lose me right there," Gardenhire said. "I don't deal with that. We're talking about winning now." Way to go, Luis.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 29, 2009 8:36 AM | Report abuse

This move is ridiculous. The Nats could have kept both Stammen and Martis on the major league roster by jettisoning Colome or Hanrahan. just when I thought it was safe to celbrate a win..the front office deals us a defeat!

Posted by: markfd | June 29, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Morning readings up.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 29, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse

I don't really care that Martis got sent down. He's young and he needs to work on things, fine.

My problem is the indecision of our FO

It reminds me of the scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail

"What is your favorite color?"

"Blue no yellow"

Posted by: Section505203 | June 29, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Martis has been pressing, so I don't see a problem with the move per se.

The problem I have is that Scott Olsen is damaged goods, a 25 year old pitcher who has lost velocity on his fastball and has a sub-.500 professional record.

Why do we keep going back to this guy?

Remember at the beginning of the year he questioned whether the players on the team had the mental fortitude to become winners?

Advice starts at home Scott.

Last year you were 8-11 with an ERA in the 4's.

Not exactly progress from the previous year.

Posted by: leopard09 | June 29, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Leopard, the story is his fastball is back up to the low 90s. So they say.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 29, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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