A.J. Cole finally got a shot at a regular stint in the major league rotation, making eight starts late in the season, but his inability to keep the ball in the park left him saddled with an ugly ERA. The 24-year-old also failed to dominate in Triple-A, and at this point he looks more like a possible reliever in the long run rather than a key rotation component. The issue appears to be with his low 90s fastball, which doesn't have the velocity or movement to get past big league hitters. Cole's slider is a solid offering, and he complements it with a decent curve and changeup, but unless his control with the fastball is impeccable, he's prone to getting hit hard. The Nationals will head into 2017 potentially in need of a fifth starter, and with prospects Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez shipped out of Washington in the offseason, Cole could push for a rotation spot. If he fails to impress in spring training, Cole may fill a swing-man role or simply head back to the minors.
Cole (suspension) said his triceps is feeling better, though he hasn't resumed throwing, Mark Zuckerman of MASN Sports reports. The right-hander has been suffering from tenderness in his triceps and may not have much time left to try turning around his 10.22 spring ERA. A rotation option at some point this season should a spot open up, Cole will be unavailable for the first three games of 2017 after the league suspended him for throwing at Jung Ho Kang in September.
Cole (suspension) has been shut down for a few days with triceps soreness, the Washington Post's Chelsea Janes reports. Manager Dusty Baker said earlier Tuesday that Cole was dealing with "tenderness" and now we know the exact location of the ailment. Cole's last scheduled start was skipped, but he did not seem concerned at all about the soreness, according to Janes. If Max Scherzer (finger) is not ready for the start of the season, Cole would be the presumed fifth starter if he can get healthy, although he has had a brutal spring (10.22 ERA, 1.78 WHIP, four strikeouts in 12.1 innings). He will be unavailable for the first three games of the season due to a suspension.
Cole (suspension) has "tenderness somewhere," which is why his last scheduled Grapefruit League start was skipped, the Washington Post's Chelsea Janes reports. Manager Dusty Baker did not specify where Cole was dealing with tenderness, but it is presumably an arm-related issue. He managed a strong four-inning outing against the Marlins on March 9, but has given up 14 earned runs on 16 hits and five walks over his other three starts (8.1 innings), so it has been a pretty brutal spring for the presumed sixth starter and potential fill-in option if Max Scherzer (finger) is not ready for his first turn in the rotation. His status will be updated when the exact location of the injury is reported. Cole is slated to be suspended for the first three games of the season, which will have zero impact on his value, as he would not have pitched in those three games.
Cole (suspension) coughed up seven runs on six hits and three walks without striking out a batter in 3.2 innings during Wednesday's Grapefruit League game against the Astros. Max Scherzer (finger) looks unlikely to be ready for Opening Day and Austin Voth has already been sent to minor league camp, so Cole would seem to be the default option for the fifth starter spot to begin the regular season, but if he keeps turning in performances like this, the Nats may have to revise their plans. He's had a mostly miserable spring so far, managing a 10.22 ERA through 12.1 innings and four appearances, but he'll get a couple more opportunities to right the ship.
Cole (suspension) tossed four no-hit, shutout innings, walking one and striking out two, in Thursday's Grapefruit League game against the Marlins. After a couple of rough outings to begin camp, Cole found a groove Thursday, albeit against a Miami lineup missing a number of regulars due to the WBC. He remains in the mix to begin the season in the Nats' rotation if Max Scherzer's finger forces a brief DL stint, but Cole will likely spend most of 2017 with Triple-A Syracuse.