Officially shutting down Cade Cavalli for the end of the season seems like a no-brainer, and I don’t know why this is even an issue. What do the Nationals gain by not officially announcing a shutdown of the top Washington Nationals pitching prospects?
As we reported last week, RHP Cade Cavalli landed on the IL with inflammation in his right shoulder last month after making his MLB debut; he was not throwing for three weeks but tried to start back up and had an issue which led the Nationals to shut him down again.
Davey Martinez discussed Cavalli in his pregame press conference before Friday’s series opener with the Miami Marlins in D.C. “Yeah, he had a little discomfort, so we shut him down right away,” Martinez explained to reporters in the clubhouse.
“He got an injection before — they gave him some medication orally to try to decrease the inflammation — this time, they injected it to get a little bit of the fluid that’s left in there. We’re going to wait between 3-7 days depending on how he’s feeling to get him back and throwing again, but everything else feels good.”
Martinez went on to say: “I talked to him earlier today, he said he feels fine, but I told him, I said, ‘We’re going to give it some time, see if this medication kicks in, and then we’ll go from there.”
Cavalli, the Washington Nationals 2020 1st Round pick, has quickly worked his way and impressed the Nationals front office to promote him quickly from A-ball to Triple-A in the Nationals’ system in his first full season of pro ball in 2021. Cavalli started 2022 with the Rochester Red Wings (the Nationals’ top minor league affiliate), put up a total of 39 walks (3.62 BB/9), striking out 104 batters (9.65 K/9), and holding hitters to a .215 AVG, with a 3.71 ERA in 20 starts and 97 innings pitched at Triple-A Rochester in his second full season in Washington’s system.
Cavalli was called up to the Majors last month, and in his first start, he went 4.1 innings giving up seven runs on six hits, struck out six, and walked two.
Why are the Nationals’ even thinking about having him pitch this season? With Strasburg’s future pitching now in debut, the Nationals need to treat Cavalli with kid gloves or just wrap him in bubble wrap until next season.
There will be no push to get into the playoffs this year or finish competitively in the standings; the Nationals need to exercise real caution with Cavalli and another pitcher: MacKenzie Gore.
The Nationals need to resist the temptation to get a bunch more fans to the park for a loss last month of the season, but think about the long-term health of these two players who might represent the team’s future.