News from the nation's capital - the Nationals designated Levale Speigner for assignment. Trader Jim Bowden took Speigner in the Rule 5 Draft from the Twins this past winter and the Nationals have carried him on the roster until now. Now, if Speigner clears waivers, the Twins can get him back for $25K. They most certainly should do so, despite the ugly 8.78 ERA that has gotten him sent down. Read on for the reasons why.
Speigner started as the long man in the Nationals bullpen and did a creditable job until mid May. In that span he made 12 appearances, pitching 15 innings, allowing 6 runs on 14 hits, 12 walks, 22 Ks, 0 HRs, 22 GBs, 19 FBs, and a 3.77 ERA. Good, but not great, numbers for a rookie who had previously never pitched above AA.
After mid-May, however, the wheels came off leading to his ERA ballooning to 8.78. What happened? The nationals starting rotation was ravaged by injury as they lost 3 starters to the DL. So Speigner was thrust into the rotation on May 16, making 7 starts. He and was brutally exposed in every one of those starts except, interestingly enough, his one against the Twins, when he provided a quality start of 6 innings, 2 hits, 1 run! In his other starts, however, he never pitched more than 4 innings and gave up 4, 5, 8, 6, 7, and 2 (in 2 innings) runs.
Despite his reasonably good pitching out of the bullpen to start the year, Washington has given up on him. I have sympathy for Speigner as he seemed to have found a good role in the big leagues as long relief. However, I am pleased for the Twins as they can probably get back a good pitching prospect who has shown that he can have success in the big leagues. As a plus, the Nationals may have demonstrated what his role should be going forward.
So, I hope Levale clears waivers and TR buys him back and assigns him to Rochester as a reliever both because he has a chance to help the Twins in the future (particularly if TR trades relief pitching for that bat we all want at 3B/DH) and because he will once again have the second best name in the Twins organization (only behind, of course, Boof Bonser). Levale Speigner, Twins pitching prosepct once more, fingers crossed.