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Nick Hagadone's 2014 campaign may have been a turning point in his career

Perhaps finally Nick Hagadone has figured out how to regularly retire major-league hitters.

Nick Hagadone
Nick Hagadone
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Every day this month you'll find a look back at the 2014 season for one of the Indians or their key prospects, as we sort out what happened and what it means for the franchise going forward.

Nick Hagadone

Position: Left-handed Relief Pitcher

Age: 28

Acquired: Trade, 7-31-2009 (Victor Martinez)

Service Time: 2.056 (pre-arbitration)

The 2014 season marked the fourth season Nick Hagadone spent with the Indians. In the previous three he ended up back in the minors after running into trouble, but finally this season he came up and stayed up.

Hagadone came to the Indians along with Justin Masterson and Bryan Price in exchange for Victor Martinez. Nick was sandwich selection by the Red Sox in the 2007 Draft. Originally a starter in the minors, he missed most of the 2008 season after undergoing Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery. In 2011, a couple years after they acquired him, the Indians moved him to the bullpen, projecting him as a late-inning setup man because of his deceptive delivery and mid-90s fastball. His big problem, whether pitching as a starter or reliever, was repeating his delivery, and that dogged him in his first three seasons in the majors. From 2011-2013, Hagadone walked 5.6 batters per 9 innings, a rate that just isn't acceptable for any pitcher, never mind a reliever. In addition, he gave up 8 home runs in 67.2 innings of work, which is also unacceptable for a reliever.

In July 2012, Hagadone, who was frustrated after an outing, hit a clubhouse door with his pitching hand and broke a bone in his arm. The Indians responded by placing him on the Disqualified List, which meant that he was not accruing MLB service time. Hagadone filed a grievance, and the two parties would make a settlement this past January. Hagadone would receive MLB service time for the time spent on the Disqualified List, and the Indians received another option year on him. The settlement seems to have benefited both parties, in that Hagadone is now just a year away from arbitration, and the Indians were able to keep him in their organization. If Hagadone had been out of options this past spring, he likely would have been either claimed on waivers or traded to another team, as the Indians at the time had two left-handed relievers on their roster (Scrabble and Josh Outman).

Hagadone was brought up on June 3 this year, was briefly sent down in late June/early July, and came up to stay on July 10. His walk rate this year was a very acceptable 2.3 batters per 9 innings, and although he did give up 3 home runs in 23.1 innings, only one of the three came with a runner on base (Bill Butler, 7-26-2014). Hagadone was effective against both left-handed and right-handed hitters, meaning that he could be left in to pitch to a right-handed hitter if needed.

2014 Grade: B


2015 Outlook

With Scrabble (aka Marc Rzepccynski), Kyle Crockett and Nick Hagadone in the fold, the Indians might look to trade Scrabble (who will be getting a big bump in salary via arbitration) for help elsewhere on the club, which would give Hagadone a higher-leverage role in the bullpen. If everyone stays, Hagadone would probably be used in middle relief, as he'll need to stay on the MLB roster from now on.