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Washington Nationals’ 2023 Rotation: Erick Fedde needs to decide who he is; Patrick Corbin in Year 5 of 6...

Davey Martinez said after the season finale that Erick Fedde needs to decide who he is as a pitcher…

Washington Nationals v New York Mets Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Fedde’s Identity:

“For the most part, I think I took the ball every five days, whether I was feeling good or not,” Erick Fedde told reporters, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, after he gave up nine hits (two HRs), two walks, and nine earned runs in 2 13 IP in the Nationals’ season finale last week.

“I went out there and felt like I competed for pretty much every start that I could’ve. I still want to go deeper in games, be a little more effective. Those things will come with lots of hard work over this offseason.”

Fedde, 29, and Washington’s 2014 1st Round pick (18th overall), finished his sixth big league season with a 5.81 ERA, 5.15 FIP, 58 walks (4.11 BB/9), 94 Ks (6.66 K/9), and a .293/.362/.470 line against in 27 stars and 127 IP on the season.

Following his next-to-last outing of the season, Fedde’s manager, Davey Martinez, offered his thoughts on what the Nats’ starter accomplished this season and where he needed to improve.

“It’s all about controlling the strike zone for me with him,” Martinez said.

“He’s got to get better at that, so — I always say his stuff is good, but he’s got to control the strike zone. He’s got to get the ball over the plate, up down, not side to side. When he does that, he’s relatively good, but he’s got to be consistent with it.”

Martinez was a little more critical when he spoke to reporters after Fedde’s final outing of the year.

“He struggled,” Martinez said.

“He struggled, you know, and when I talk to him, I talk to him about — he needs to create his own identity and figure out who he wants to be and what he wants to do moving forward. I know he’s got to get better. We talk about he’s got to attack the strike zone. Location is a big thing for him. Throwing the ball where he wants to. Got to develop his changeup a little bit better, but he’s got a live arm, and when he’s on he’s really good. But it’s consistency with him. He’s got to start getting consistent every five days.”

Corbin’s Future:

Patrick Corbin finished the fourth year of his 6-year/$140M deal with the Washington Nationals with a 6.31 ERA, 4.84 FIP, 49 walks (2.89 BB/9), and 128 strikeouts (7.55 K/9) in 152 2⁄3 IP, over which hitters put up a .321/.374/.513 line against him.

He did, however, show some signs of improvement over the last month-plus, which has the club holding out hope Corbin might have figured something out after three seasons of struggles for the 33-year-old southpaw.

“You know what,” manager Davey Martinez said after Corbin’s final outing of the 2022 campaign. “He struggled in the beginning as well all know, then all of a sudden like I said, the last 5-6-7 starts, he started understanding what he needs to do, how he needs to pitch, and he threw the ball well, and he kept us in the games, which was awesome. That’s a testament to him continuing to work with [Pitching Coach Jim] Hickey. I thought Hickey did a great job of getting him to understand that he needs another pitch. He started throwing his changeup a lot more. I thought his slider today, a few of them, were really, really good, really sharp, and he understands now that he needs to keep the ball down to be effective, and for the most part he did that over those last 5-6 starts, so I’ve got a good feeling that next spring, he comes in, he’s in shape, he gets ready, that we’ll see a different Corbin, the Corbin that we saw in ‘19.”

In 2019, in the first year of his deal in D.C., Corbin helped the club win the World Series, putting up a 3.25 ERA, a 3.49 FIP, 70 walks (3.12 BB/9), and 238 Ks (10.60 K/9) in 33 starts and 202 IP in the regular season over which he held hitters to a .227/.293/.375 line.

Then he went on to put together an up and down postseason run which culminated with three crucial scoreless innings in relief in the Nationals’ Game 7 win.

“He works hard,” Martinez said of what he wants Corbin to work on over the winter.

“And like I said, if we can get him to continue to do what he did over the last 5-6 starts, he’ll keep us in the games, and I know he’s going to do that.”

Corbin acknowledged there is plenty of room for improvement following a third straight sub-par season.

“There’s probably quite a bit,” he said when asked where he can improve.

“I think as a starter, always trying to go out there your fifth day is something I’ve always wanted to do. I don’t think the numbers obviously were great.

“As a team, obviously, we want to improve on a lot of things.

“But finished the season healthy. I know my stuff is still there. So just looking forward to maybe tweaking a couple things for next year.”

“I see him as a starter for us next year,” GM Mike Rizzo told reporters in his season-ending interview last week. “He takes the ball every fifth day. His stuff was good, his velocity on his fastball was good, his spin rate was good. I think his last 7-8 starts were more indicative of who he’s going to be next year than his previous starts. I think that the defense we put behind him is going to help improve his bottom line next year, but I give the guy credit. He answered the questions every five days, he took the ball every five days, and he’s a pro. And I think that he’s going to come back with a little chip on his shoulder next year and try to prove a lot of naysayers wrong, and I think that he’ll get closer to the 2018-19 Patrick Corbin that we’ve seen in the past.”

“He’s going to come to Spring Training as one of our rotation candidates,” the GM in D.C. said the next day, during his weekly visit with 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies.

“And I was pleased with the last 6-7 starts that he had — were better than the previous season went. All the precursors and the markers that we kind of go by to see performance increases are there with his velocity and spin rate and that type of thing, so I’m optimistic that he’s certainly going to pitch better than he pitched this year, and get back on track and become a guy that we can count on.”