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Official Predict the Roster Post

I was going to do this on Sunday, which is two weeks from the opener, but Web traffic is notoriously slow on the weekends, so I figured we'd do it today, which is two weeks before the off day which is the day before the Nationals-Orioles exhibition game at Nationals Park.

That day, by the way, the Nats will hold a 6 p.m. workout at the new ballpark to get used to the lights, etc.

There are 44 players remaining in Nats' major league camp, pretty low for a team at this time of spring (and they're bringing in other guys for today's day-night split-squad games against Cleveland). Here's who's left:

Pitchers (18):
Luis Ayala
Jason Bergmann
Matt Chico
Jesus Colome
Chad Cordero
Joel Hanrahan
Shawn Hill
Ray King
John Lannan
Arnie Munoz
Mike O'Connor
John Patterson
Odalis Perez
Jon Rauch
Tim Redding
Saul Rivera
Chris Schroder
Steven Shell

Catchers (5):
Humberto Cota
Johnny Estrada
Jesus Flores
Paul Lo Duca
Wil Nieves

Infielders (12):
Ronnie Belliard
Aaron Boone
Bret Boone
Kory Casto
Cristian Guzman
Nick Johnson
Felipe Lopez
Pete Orr
Josh Whitesell
Matt Whitney
Dmitri Young
Ryan Zimmerman

Outfielders (9):
Elijah Dukes
Alex Escobar
Willie Harris
Austin Kearns
Garrett Guzman
Ryan Langerhans
Rob Mackowiak
Lastings Milledge
Wily Mo Pena

Before you begin, let's give a couple clues:

* Jim Bowden said the other day that the most likely configuration for the Opening Day pitching staff is four starters and seven relievers. To my mind, that leaves Shawn Hill out, returning to start on April 13. But as Bowden said, that could change.

* Rob Mackowiak signed a major league contract.

* Joel Hanrahan is out of options. Chris Schroder and Saul Rivera are not.

That's all the clues I'll give. Why not slice and dice the roster and come up with your 25 for the opener.

You might be able to get more clues by reading today's $.35/$.50-edition. Tim Redding was excellent last night. Wily Mo Pena might be down a while. Manny Acta said this morning that he "can't make that type of assessment" about whether Pena will be ready by the opener after straining his left oblique. They're waiting for the results of an MRI, but folks are concerned. He's going to have to take it slow.

Today's game in Viera against the Indians:

Cristian Guzman -- 6
Bret Boone -- 4
Elijah Dukes -- 8
Dmitri Young -- 3
Austin Kearns -- 9
Aaron Boone -- DH
Willie Harris -- 5
Humberto Cota -- 2
Garrett Guzman -- 7

Matt Chico -- 1

Pick away.

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 14, 2008; 8:47 AM ET
 
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Next: Pena likely out a month

Comments

Barry -- Can you get an answer for how contracts work with releases? Even though Mack has a contract, because it's a 1-year deal, they can release him in spring training for 45-days pay? Is that right?

Posted by: Chris | March 14, 2008 9:15 AM | Report abuse

SPs: Jason Bergmann, John Patterson, Odalis Perez (requires 40-man move), & Tim Redding

RPs: Luis Ayala, Jesus Colome, Chad Cordero, Joel Hanrahan, Ray King (requires 40-man move), Jon Rauch, & Saul Rivera

CA: Paul Lo Duca & Humberto Cota (requires 40-man move)

IFs: Ronnie Belliard, Aaron Boone, Cristian Guzman, Nick Johnson, Felipe Lopez, Dmitri Young, & Ryan Zimmerman

OFs: Elijah Dukes, Willie Harris, Austin Kearns, Rob Mackowiak, & Lastings Milledge

-----

15-day DL: Shawn Hill, Johnny Estrada, & Wily Mo Pena

60-day DL: Ryan Wagner

Rule 5 guys returned (Matt Whitney & Garrett Guzman)

AAA: Matt Chico, John Lannan, Arnie Munoz, Mike O'Connor, Chris Schroder, & Steven Shell, Wil Nieves, Kory Casto, Pete Orr, Josh Whitesell, Alex Escobar, & Ryan Langerhans

AA: Jesus Flores

No idea: Bret Boone

Posted by: Brian | March 14, 2008 9:19 AM | Report abuse

My Prediction

P: Cordero, Ayala, Rauch, King, Hanrahan, Rivera, Colome, Bergmann, Patterson, Perez, Redding. DL: Hill;
Catchers: Lo Duca, Nieves. DL: Estrada
IF: Belliard, B.Boone, Guzman, Johnson, Lopez, Young, Zimmerman. DL: A.Boone
OF: Dukes, Kearns, Milledge, Machioviak, Langerhans. DL: Pena


Posted by: NatBisquit | March 14, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse


SPs: John Patterson(1), Jason Bergmann(2), Odalis Perez(3) (requires 40-man move), & Tim Redding(4)

RPs: Luis Ayala(SU), Jesus Colome(MR), Chad Cordero(CL), Joel Hanrahan(LR), Ray King(LOOGY) (requires 40-man move), Jon Rauch(SU), & Saul Rivera(MR)

CA: Paul Lo Duca(ST) & Wil Nieves (requires 40-man move)

IFs: Ronnie Belliard(ST), Aaron Boone, Cristian Guzman(ST), Nick Johnson(ST), Felipe Lopez, Dmitri Young, & Ryan Zimmerman(ST)

OFs: Elijah Dukes(ST), Willie Harris, Austin Kearns(ST), Rob Mackowiak, & Lastings Milledge(ST)

-----

15-day DL: Shawn Hill(5), Johnny Estrada, & Wily Mo Pena

60-day DL: Ryan Wagner

Rule 5 guys returned (Matt Whitney & Garrett Guzman)

AAA: Matt Chico, John Lannan, Arnie Munoz, Mike O'Connor, Chris Schroder, & Steven Shell, Humberto Cota, Kory Casto, Pete Orr, Josh Whitesell, Alex Escobar, & Ryan Langerhans

AA: Jesus Flores

No idea: Bret Boone

-------------------------------------------

Most of this is copied straight off of Brian. I agree for the most part with what he's got up top.

Pitchers have their roll in ()
#1-5 = order in rotation beginning with opening day
LR = Long Reliever
MR = Middle Reliever
SU = Primary Setup Men
CL = Closer
ST = Starting Position Player


I'd love to put Maxwell in for Pena, Assume Hill will be healthy, or assume Flores could be the opening day catcher but i'd also love a solid gold toilet and its just not in the cards.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | March 14, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Dont count out a deal by Jimbow either, we could easily see a completely different team in a week.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | March 14, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

SP: John Patterson, Odalis Perez, Tim Redding, Matt Chico

RP: Chad Cordero, Jon Rauch, Luis Ayala, Jason Bergmann, Jesus Colome, Ray King, Saul Rivera

C: Paul Lo Duca, Jesus Flores (Estrada to DL; Flores to AA upon return)

IF: Nick Johnson, Dmitri Young, Ronnie Belliard, Felipe Lopez, Cristian Guzman, Ryan Zimmerman, Aaron Boone

OF: Elijah Dukes, Austin Kearns, Lastings Milledge, Alex Escobar, Rob Mackowiak

Posted by: Deep Fried Screech | March 14, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Barry:

I believe your list of players in camp is a little off. One of the Nats press releases has Josh Whitesell already assigned to AAA Columbus. I also couldn't find anything about Ryan Wagner not being in camp anymore.

Can you clarify that for us?

I have the Nats going into the start of the season with this kind of roster:

SS Guzman
CF Milledge
3B Zimmerman
1B Johnson
RF Kearns
LF Dukes
2B Belliard
C LoDuca

STARTERS:
Patterson - Bergmann - Lannan - Redding

BULLPEN:
Cordero - Rauch - Ayala - Rivera - Hanrahan - Colome - King

BENCH:
C Flores (until Estrada returns)
1B Young
INF Lopez
INF A Boone
OF Harris
OF Mackowiak

It'll be interesting to see what the Nats do to make room for Hill, Estrada (Flores to AA or AAA) and Pena.

I also like what Pete Orr is giving to this team. It doesn't hurt that he's Canadian too, eh?

Posted by: CanadaNatsFan | March 14, 2008 9:37 AM | Report abuse

SP: Bergmann (OD), Patterson, Redding, Lannan.
Bullpen:Cordero, Rauch, Ayala, King Schroder, Rivera, Hanrahan.
OF:Milledge, Kearns, Dukes, (bench:Langerhans, Mackowiack).
IF: Zimm, Guzman, Johnson, Lopez (bench:A.Boone, Belliard, Young)
Catch: Lo Duca, Nieves

DL: Hill, Pena, Estrada.

I think they'll continue to keep the pressure *OFF* Patterson for Opening Day. I don't think he'll respond well to the pressure of being the implied "ace", the pressure of the big day itself, or the pressure of short-rest. They should leave him at Game 2.

Though I have no idea why, I have a feeling they'll keep Langerhans. I'd rather see Escobar out there.

B. Boone and W. Harris get traded.

Posted by: NatsNut | March 14, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Last night, Charlie pointed out that Lopez has not played a single minute at second base this spring.

Feel free to attempt to extrapolate some meaning from that.

Posted by: John in Mpls | March 14, 2008 9:41 AM | Report abuse

p.s. I think Belliard SHOULD start 2nd, but it will likely be Lopez because of something written recently: That Belliard would adjust better to the bench and Lopez would most certainly tank if sent to the bench.

Posted by: NatsNut | March 14, 2008 9:42 AM | Report abuse

I like everyone's list. Estrada definitely goes on DL. I think Cota will be backup. B. Boone gets traded or in on 25 and A. Boone on DL however, is he injured?) as listed above.

Posted by: A Hardwick | March 14, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Hmmm. Interesting, John in Mpls.

Maybe I shoulda waited about a minute more before hitting the submit button.

Posted by: NatsNut | March 14, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Is it just me, or is Langerhans making a run-saving play every game?

Last night, diving catch at the wall. Against the Braves, a laser beam throw home to save a run.

Maybe I'd feel differently if more games were on the radio. But it seems like he's all over the place this spring.

-----

Though I have no idea why, I have a feeling they'll keep Langerhans. I'd rather see Escobar out there.

Posted by: John in Mpls | March 14, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

RP:
Luis Ayala, Jesus Colome, Chad Cordero, Joel Hanrahan, Ray King, Jon Rauch, Saul Rivera, Chris Schroder

SP:
John Patterson, Jason Bergmann, Odalis Perez, Tim Redding

Catchers:
Jesus Flores, Paul Lo Duca
(figure lo duca can't play 5 days a week for the first 2-3 weeks, so flores can get 3-4 starts a week until estrada's ready)

Infielders:
Cristian Guzman, Nick Johnson, Felipe Lopez, Ronnie Belliard, Dmitri Young, Ryan Zimmerman

Outfielders:
Elijah Dukes, Rob Mackowiak, Lastings Milledge, Austin Kearns, Willie Harris

DL:
Shawn Hill
Wily Mo Pena
Aaron Boone
Johnny Estrada

Bret Boone?? who knows.

all of that said, i think there are at least two trades before opening day, even if they're just minor things to juggle what's happening for the last 2-3 spots on the roster or players that would be cut. or maybe to attempt to keep rule 5 guy(s).

Posted by: 231 | March 14, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

JiM,
Oh definitely. Langerhans is ALWAYS all over the place with his fielding.

I was going to mention 231's recent comment that the dude still can't hit his weight (and he's not even 195 lbs). But I just looked at his ST average: .273.

Over .200 is good for him, so maybe there is a good case for him.

Posted by: NatsNut | March 14, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Starting Pitchers

Patterson
Bergmann
Redding
Perez

Relievers

Cordero
Rauch
Ayala
Hanrahan
Rivera
King
O'Connor

Outfielders

Kearns
Milledge
Dukes
Mackowiak
Willie Harris

Infielders

Zimmerman
C. Guzman
Belliard
Lopez
A. Boone
N. Johnson
D. Young

Catchers

Lo Duca
Cota

Posted by: Gusto | March 14, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

John in Mpls,

That is a very interesting quote you bring up from Charlie. The fact that Lopez has not played any 2nd base this spring has quietly gone unnoticed by just about everyone including myself. Lopez has been completely outplayed by Guzman at SS. As of today it appears Lopez will find him self riding pine and/or traded come OD.

I am convinced that Jimbo is trying hard to work a trade for either Lopez or B. Boone. I wouldn't give a bag of balls for either one of them pesonally but, that doesn't mean some idiot GM won't.

Posted by: Section 505/203 | March 14, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Though there are differences on who starts and who's on the bench, we're all pretty much in agreement on the infield.

Posted by: NatsNut | March 14, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Here's my take:

SP #1 Bergmann (Opening Day Starter)
SP #2 Patterson (stays on current schedule)
SP #3 Redding
SP #4 Perez

Long Relief: Hanrahan
Situational: Colome, King, Rivera
7th Inning: Ayala
8th Inning: Rauch
9th Inning: Cordero

Total Pitchers = 11

Starting Lineup:
C. Guzman - 6
Milledge - 8
Zimmerman - 5
Johnson - 3
Dukes - 7
Kearns - 9
Belliard - 4
Lo Duca - 2

Pinch Hitters:
Young
A. Boone

Utility/Def. Replacements:
Lopez
Whitney
Langerhans
Nieves

Total Position Players = 14

DL:
Hill
Estrada
Mackowiak

Cut/Traded:
Cota
B. Boone
Harris
G. Guzman

Minors:
Chico
Lannan
Munoz
O'Connor
Schroder
Shell
Flores
Casto
Escobar

Posted by: gibs10 | March 14, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Off topic for a second:
The song I'd like to replace Sweet Caroline for it's crowd-singability and message? Don't Stop Believin' (Journey)

Another song that could be used for a number of things: Shattered (Rolling Stones). It's versatile. Could be used when we 'shatter' a home run. Or it could be used when the other team is thrown out.

Posted by: NatsNut | March 14, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Rotation: Patterson, Redding, Bergmann, and Odalis.
Bullpen: Cordero, Ayala, Rauch, Hanrahan, King, Rivera and Schroder
Catcher: LoDuca and Cota (Estrada to DL, Flores to AAA)
Infilders: Johnson and Young, Lopez, Belliard and C. Guzman, Zimmerman and Boone.
Outfield: Dukes, Kearns, and LMillz, Escobar gets Pena's roster slot and G. Guzman.

Starting the season on the DL: Hill, Pena and Estrada.

It's a numbers game and there's no room on the 25 man roster for B. Boone, Willie Harris, and Rob Mackowiak. I still think JomBo's got one more deal in the works.

Posted by: Sec 114, Row E | March 14, 2008 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Opening Day 25-man roster
1. Infielders (4)- Johnson, Belliard, Guzman & Zimmerman
2. Outfielders(3)- Dukes, Milledge & Kearns
3. Catcher (1)- LoDuca
4. Bench (6)- Flores(why open a temporary spot for Cota when Flores can fill in for a few weeks), A. Boone, Young, Mackowiak, Lopez & Orr.
5. Starters(4)- Patterson,Bergmann, Redding & Perez
6. Bullpen (7)- Cordero,Rauch, Ayala, Hanrahan, Colome, King & Rivera.

15 day/DL- Wily Mo, Shawn Hill, Estrada
Trades- Willie Harris(Dodgers)
Rule 5- Whitney (trade for & move to AAA???), Guzman returned
AAA- Chico, Lannan (odd starters out)

Note: When Wily Mo, Hill & Estrada come back, Flores is sent to AA/Mackowiak is put on DL or traded and Orr is waived/sent to AAA.

Challenges: What to do with Johnson/Young and Lopez????? The odd players out as starters are not going to be happy on the bench!!!

Posted by: Vienna | March 14, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Man, what a problem to have, Schroeder was solid last year and a strikeout machine. I am sure there are a number of teams out there in need of releif help, I wonder what we could get in return if we make a move.

Posted by: natrat | March 14, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Remember in your write-in votes for music, to include The Curly Shuffle.

Posted by: NatBisquit | March 14, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

check this out, and i suggest it becomes a staple to the NJ.
http://tinyurl.com/2wc9t3

who knows how the bench plays out. how many of the players on the team that are out of options would slip through the cracks so the nats can then resign them if indeed they cut them or demoted them? im not sure how many teams are scouting out the nats for the "lowertiered" players.

have any scouts been at the nats games so far? is so, any ideas to their focus? anyone?

Posted by: theraph | March 14, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

506 (BM), I hadn't noticed, either. I think only Charlie noticed, to tell you the truth.

To me, it screams that, if Lopez makes this team, he is a bench player. Even if Guzman was hitting .293 (and not the .393 he's currently hitting - wow), he's been head and shoulders above Lopez all Spring.

Posted by: John in Mpls | March 14, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

I completely agree with Brian's (the very first one). I do think they will find a way to trade to keep Whitney (then send him down). Other than that, I only see a trade with Lopez or Belliard. No sense in trading Schroder since he has options. Now, if we could trade Rivera (I don't think his value will ever be higher) and somebody for a MI prospect, I would love it...

Posted by: exporam | March 14, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

A question for YOU, NJ-ers & Barry:
Why have 2 dedicated setup men? In my understanding, on most major league teams, your setup guy is a guy that, ideally, you want pitching at least two or three times a week, just like your closer.
Wouldn't a team be better served by having one dedicated setup guy and everyone else in LR or MR?
Depending on your answer, what do you do then with Ayala and Rauch. Both have proven to be solid if not great at the setup roll. Rauch can setup, close, long relieve, or even start in a pinch, so he's probably the most versatile of the two. I don't think you'd ever want Ayala closing, but he has command of more pitches than Rauch and before the injury might have been having the best season of any dedicated setup man in the majors.
Anywho...just want to get your thoughts on all that.
AJ

Posted by: AJ | March 14, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

tin yurl of the day!

-----

check this out, and i suggest it becomes a staple to the NJ.
http://tinyurl.com/2wc9t3

Posted by: John in Mpls | March 14, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

theraph
When I was at Viera last week, there was always 12-15 scouts sitting in the 200 sections behind homeplate. I'm sure that goes on for all teams including the Nats. The scouts will joke with the fans but won't give you any honest idea about which player they are watching. BUT, sometimes their body language betrays them like when Dukes comes to the plate.

Posted by: Vienna | March 14, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

I think Brian is pretty close.

Regarding the 40 man roster moves coming - Willie Harris & Rob Mackowiak appear to be fighting for one spot - at least until we get WMP back (damn injuries are getting really old). Langerhans & Casto gotta be ones on the block to be knocked off the 40 man too.

Not sure the 2 rule 5 guys have shown enough to stay with the team. The idea to make a trade to keep them is nice - if someone would take Casto instead. In other words, I think they go back too.

Trades will happen. Not sure how soon it will pick up. Think someone will take a chance on B Boone, as I don't think we have the spot for him.

Posted by: Bazz | March 14, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Interesting argument, AJ.

I think it also applies to Colome, whom the Nats used as a seventh-inning guy last season, setting up the setup man.

I think the reasoning, at least last season, is that the bullpen threw so many innnings. With an unproven rotation often filled with stopgaps, you couldn't just rely on one setup man.

Didn't Rauch lead the league in appearances?

I don't know if what is perceived to be a stronger rotation changes that philosophy. Maybe the Nats only carry six relievers this season. In that case, Colome, Rauch, or Ayala could be dealt. Any of these guys should be worth more than a guy like Albaladejo (whom I liked, by the way). Packaged with, say, a Lopez or Young, maybe you make like T-Mobile and get more.

All this just reinforces what I've been saying all spring. The bullpen is a strength from which Bowden can make deals with comfort.

Posted by: John in Mpls | March 14, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

I'm going to go out on a limb here.

If Pena starts the season on the DL, Langerhans makes this team.

How are the ribs in Philadelphia?

Posted by: John in Mpls | March 14, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

"check this out, and i suggest it becomes a staple to the NJ.
http://tinyurl.com/2wc9t3"

Interesting that theraph should post his "beating a dead horse" JPEG on this "Predict the Roster" thread. I'm sure that his intent for the dead horse that gets beaten here is comments like mine that point out that the Post's coverage is lacking. But really, when you think about it, threads like this one are a prime example of how the Post comes up short in its coverage of the Nationals. They've had a man on the ground 24/7 during spring training, in the person of first Dave Sheinin and now Barry Svrluga. They had a drop-in visit of a week or so from their resident baseball sage, Tom Boswell. Now, two weeks out from the start of the season, at a time when THEY should be telling US who's going to make the team when they head north, and more importantly WHY the guys who make it made it and the guys who don't make it didn't, instead they spawn a "Predict the Roster" thread. (Can you say "clog the board"? I knew you could.) Not only that, they haven't told us details like the little tidbit that Lopez hasn't played a second at second all spring, or who the opposing scouts at the games seem interested in, or anything else of the sort that would let us make an informed prediction of who will be on the 25-man roster come March 30th. It's as if the Weather Channel asked all its users to produce a YouTube video of themselves guessing what tomorrow's weather will be so it could play them all in lieu of its meteorologists actually doing their job.

But what am I saying? The coverage is fine. Just keep repeating that to yourself over and over and over again and eventually it will be true. Because it just HAS to be true, right?

Posted by: Section 419+1 | March 14, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

100% chance I make the roster!

Posted by: Arnie Munoz | March 14, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

SP: Bergmann, Perez, Redding, Patterson
RP: Cordero, Rauch, Ayala, Hanrahan, Rivera, King, Colome
C: Lo Duca, Nieves
IF: Zimmerman, Guzman, Belliard, Lopez, Johnson, A. Boone, Whitney
OF: Dukes, Milledge, Kearns, Mackowiak, Harris

DL: Hill, Pena, Estrada

When Hill comes back, trade Rivera or Colome. When Pena comes back, trade Harris or Mackowiak. When Estrada comes back, send Nieves down.

Posted by: nooklogancircle | March 14, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Actually, Barry did tell us that Lopez had only played shortstop all spring. He posts the lineups for every game. We simply failed to notice that "Lopez -- 4" never appeared.

Also, I dont' want to speak for anyone else, but I think the dead horse icon is applicable to this post. Honestly, aren't we just repeating ourselves with this whole "Who makes the club?" conversation?

I'm not saying you don't have a valid point about coverage, though. Call me Wendelstedt, but I'm just calling 'em like I see 'em.

Posted by: JohninMpls | March 14, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Chris: I believe you are correct about a guy like Mackowiak, but I will double check. Excellent question.

Posted by: Barry Svrluga | March 14, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

I'm surprised so many picked Perez for starting rotation. How come?

Posted by: NatsNut | March 14, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Re: two setup guys. Let's remember that closers can / do go into a funk or get overused.

Since Rauch has and can close, he provides an option, that may be more than a luxury (remember, we don't yet know how GEICO field will play).

Also, don't bet on B. Boone being traded. He probably doesn't really have any value as trade material because of age, lack of recent playing, etc. More likely, the Nats keep him in a scouting/coach role and tell him to keep in shape, just in case.

Also, I'm a little concerned about WMP. I still don't understand what is with oblique muscle problems. I don't remember these at all before about 2000. Is this a new muscle that suddenly appeared in baseball players?

Posted by: Catcher50 | March 14, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

is horacio ramirez a cheaper alternative to jeff weaver? he was cut by the m's. not good, but another one of those low risk moves?

Posted by: theraph | March 14, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

"Actually, Barry did tell us that Lopez had only played shortstop all spring. He posts the lineups for every game. We simply failed to notice that "Lopez -- 4" never appeared."

Hate to nitpick, but that tells us nothing more than who started the games. Nothing about substitutions, which are rampant during spring training. It is indeed telling that someone who played both short and second last year and who (by both his own admission and statements from management) needs to bounce back from a poor performance last year has not taken the field at all this spring at one of those two positions. But Barry didn't tell us that. Not only that, he didn't tell us WHY that situation has occurred. Is it the team's plan for Lopez that's dictating it? Is it Lopez who's dictating it, because he thinks he needs more work during the spring at his weaker position? Or is there something else at play here? We don't know. But we should, because this is a player making $4.9M this year, not some scrub signed to a minor league contract. A reporter's job is to tell the reader who, what, when, where and why. How many more of those five Ws has the Post not told us this spring?

Posted by: Section 419+1 | March 14, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Uh, Section 419+1, if you're so dissatisfied with the coverage why don't you just stick with The Times then? I think MTV's coverage of music is lacking. That's why I don't watch it.

Posted by: mrlogical | March 14, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

I read the Mariners are on the hook for 30 days of Horacio Ramirez's 2008 salary when he was recently released.

He had signed a one year deal to avoid arbitration.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | March 14, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

I'm having fun with the roster predictions, and it is something you have to do a number of times as the players show their stuff, get injured, etc.

As for dead horses, let's be realistic. Those of us who have discussed the team for the nearly 6 months since the season ended have so utterly beat the dead horse that we could serve it as a nice carpaccio. At least that's all the time we have- when the Redskins fail to make the playoffs, or lose in the first round, their faithful have 8 months to beat the dead horse until it is refined biofuels.

Posted by: Positively Half St. | March 14, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

PLEASE DON'T FEED THE COVERAGE MONSTERS.

Posted by: I'M BEGGING YOU | March 14, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Nobody has signed Doug Mirabelli yet. Is he worth having?

Posted by: Positively Half St. | March 14, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Roster looks covered. Don't want to beat that horse anymore.

I like what Vienna asked about the first base situation. Is this a Bowden asking to much situation?
Which one would you keep? bad leg guy or overweight diabetes guy?

Talk to me?

Posted by: Section Zero | March 14, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

hes good at catching a knuckleball. so if we sign him then we have to get the ghost of hoyt wilhelm. or lure tom candiotti out of his retirement.

Posted by: theraph | March 14, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Wish I had time to read everyone's...

SP: Patterson, Perez, Redding, Chico
RP: Cordero, Rauch, Ayala, King, Schroder, Colome, Hanrahan
C: Lo Duca, Flores
IF: Young, Johnson, Belliard, Zimmerman, Guzman, Lopez, A. Boone, Harris
OF: Dukes, Milledge, Kearns, Mackowiak

15 day - Hill, Estrada, Pena

Notes:
1) Perez is there on a trial basis, if he starts to struggle, they DFA him, if he refuses they let him go but either way they bring up Bergmann.

2) When Hill is ready, they option Schroder because he has options and Hanrahan doesn't.

3) Colome is on a short leash, if back to post-butt problem performance he's sent down and Rivera brought up.

4) If Perez sticks then Bergmann is the "6th starter" for whenever someone goes down.

5) Only reason Bergmann has to go down is because he has options and they need to see if Perez will work because he'll probably refuse assignment if DFA'ed and they'd loose him.

6) As soon as Estrada is ready, Flores goes to AA.

7) If Johnson or Young is traded, maybe they keep B. Boone if he keeps hitting the last two weeks and look to trade him in July for prospects.

Posted by: Avar | March 14, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

i think having 7/8/9 inning guys (i.e. 2 setup guys) is what every team *wants*, but few teams have. is it a necessity? no. but it gives you two things. one, security if your starter can go 6 and keep you in the game. two, security if your closer or one of your setup guys go down that you still have 8/9 covered.

i have no problem with potentially dealing one of the three, but i don't think it's necessarily a luxury that you try to force a trade out of. there are probably 25 other teams in the league that want ot be in that spot.

Posted by: 231 | March 14, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Pitchers (11)
Luis Ayala
Jason Bergmann
Jesus Colome
Chad Cordero
Joel Hanrahan
Ray King
John Patterson
Odalis Perez
Jon Rauch
Tim Redding
Saul Rivera

Catchers (2)
Jesus Flores
Paul Lo Duca

Infielders (7)
Ronnie Belliard
Aaron Boone
Cristian Guzman
Nick Johnson
Felipe Lopez
Dmitri Young
Ryan Zimmerman

Outfielders (5)
Elijah Dukes
Alex Escobar
Austin Kearns
Ryan Langerhans
Lastings Milledge

Posted by: johnbear948 | March 14, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Theraph...Knucklers pitch forever, let's go for Wilhelm.

Sec 0...When is the future? If it's '09, you keep Young. If it's '10 or '11, you keep the bad leg.

Posted by: Catcher50 | March 14, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

"PLEASE DON'T FEED THE COVERAGE MONSTERS."

Yes, just keep repeating your mantra.

The coverage is fine.
The coverage is fine.
The coverage is fine.

Serenity now.

Happy?

Posted by: Section 419+1 | March 14, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

"Uh, Section 419+1, if you're so dissatisfied with the coverage why don't you just stick with The Times then?"

Um, because I refuse to read right wing newspapers published by the Moonies no matter how good their baseball coverage might be? At least I'm paying subscription money to the Post, which I doubt many of you Web-only freeloaders are. Once you start having to pay money to read and comment here (and believe me, you will, probably sooner than you might think) then maybe you'll have some basis for complaining about the graffiti the likes of me are throwing up on the wall here. Until then, though, you're just a fellow graffitist here. Shall we bond with a group hug?

Posted by: Section 419+1 | March 14, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

When the Post delivers to Minneapolis, I will happily purchase a subscription. Until then, I object being called a freeloader.

And, for the record (and I hope someone from the Post is reading this), I would be happy to pay for access to WaPo.com.

Posted by: John in Mpls | March 14, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

(I'm missing a "to" in there. Sorry.)

Posted by: John in Mpls | March 14, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

"I like what Vienna asked about the first base situation. Is this a Bowden asking to much situation?
Which one would you keep? bad leg guy or overweight diabetes guy?"

You keep them both. Nick Johnson is the starting first baseman. He's earned the job with his performance this spring. Dmitri Young is the backup first baseman and number one pinch hitter off the bench. He proved last night why he's perfect for the pinch hitting role. After not having faced major league pitching in a live game situation for six months, he steps up to the plate and strokes a clean base hit. One thing that guy can do, no matter how much he weighs or how long he's been sitting, is hit. With Manny showing his willingness last year to pull the double switch even with such inferior substitutes as Fick, you can bet Dmitri will be going in for Nick in quite a few double switches this year.

Dmitri won't be happy in the bench role, you say? He'll suck it up and do the job, and be plenty happy with his $5M. That's too much money to pay a backup, you say? Only if the Lerners are cheap it is. And the Lerners aren't cheap.

Posted by: Section 419+1 | March 14, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

What any individual, at any position makes is largely irrelevant - as long as the team salary is within the range of those writing the checks. That said, with the Nats have a low payroll, if doesn't matter if the back up 1B/PH makes $5M/year.

Posted by: Sec 114, Row E | March 14, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Barry -- what about McGeary? Is he coming in for the Stanford spring break period? (I believe that you wrote something about that in your feature on him a couple of months ago)

Posted by: nats fan in annandale | March 14, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, sign Mirabelli as the back-up and then once Wakefield starts sucking in Boston the Sox will be begging to trade with us to get Mirabelli back (a la 2006? and San Diego)...

Oh wait, they'll probably just dump Wakefield and go with Lester and Buckholz. Must be nice

Posted by: Gibby | March 14, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

So we haven't even seen Perez yet and he's in the rotation? I don't think so. He's decidedly mediocre. You all may want to check out his stats over the last few years. I say Chico makes it or Lannan over Perez. Chico may be having a crappy spring, but he was solid last year.

Pitchers - Bergmann, Patterson, Redding, Chico, Cordero, Rauch, Rivera, Ayala, Hanrahan, Colome, King

Infielders - Johnson, Zimm, Belliard, Guzman, A.Boone, Young, Lopez

Outfielders - Dukes, Mills, Kearns - and honestly, it's a toss-up for me who gets the remaining 2 spots on the bench. How about Harris and Escobar.

C - Lo Duca, Cota

DL - WMP, Hill

Posted by: Patty | March 14, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I think Nick Johnson's new nickname should indeed be "The Leg."

Posted by: Patty | March 14, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Starting Pitchers (4):
Jason Bergmann
John Patterson
Odalis Perez
Tim Redding

Bullpen (7):
Luis Ayala
Jesus Colome
Chad Cordero
Joel Hanrahan
Ray King
Jon Rauch
Saul Rivera

Catchers (2):
Paul Lo Duca
Humberto Cota

Infielders (6):
Nick Johnson (1b)
Bret Boone (2b)
Cristian Guzman (SS)
Ryan Zimmerman (3b)
Ronnie Belliard (MIF)
Aaron Boone (CIF)

Utility (1):
Willie Harris

Outfielders (5):
Elijah Dukes (LF)
Lastings Milledge (CF)
Austin Kearns (RF)
Alex Escobar
Ryan Langerhans

DL:
Shawn Hill
Rob Mackowiak
Johnny Estrada
Wily Mo Pena
Dmitri Young

AAA:
Kory Casto
Matt Chico
John Lannan
Arnie Munoz
Wil Nieves
Mike O'Connor
Chris Schroder
Steven Shell
Josh Whitesell

AA:
Jesus Flores

Traded:
Felipe Lopez

Released:
Pete Orr

Waived/offered back per Rule 5/trade:
Matt Whitney
Garrett Guzman

Posted by: Ric | March 14, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

So many wild cards.

If there's any justice, Humberto Cota will get a spot on the roster. With injuries to LoDuca and Estrada, they pretty much have to keep him, but the way he's playing he ought to stay -- maybe deal Estrada. I don't see them keeping Mackoviak over Langerhans, but ya never know. With Pena on the DL, they could keep both short-term.

The way Pete Orr is hitting, I think he will force the Johnson/Young issue. My instinct is they will deal Young to an AL club -- but I'd kinda like to see the Nationals move to the AL, so they can keep both. Maybe they can swap leagues and schedules with the Rays?

As well as Schroder is pitching, he ought to stay up, but I think they'll send him down. O'Connor -- depends on how the Nats see his future, If they want to try him in the pen, they will make space for him. I suspect that they will send him to Columbus to work as a starter and keep building arm strength.

And, of course, the starting rotation. These are not the same old Nats, where they have to throw any experienced arm they can find. I think Perez is the odd man out here.

The 25 (this is not a real opening day roster. Since the Nats will feel pressure to move Young or Johnson, they will probably trade one for a good second baseman or possibly, an outfielder -- and maybe move Lopez. The point is, if they make a trade, they will be getting someone in return, so this projection is subject to that move.)

OF- Milledge, Dukes, Kearns, Langerhans, Mackowiak

C- Flores, Cota

IF- Zimmerman, Guzman, Belliard, Johnson, A. Boone, Orr, Lopez

SP- Bergmann, Redding, Lannan, Patterson

RP- Cordero, Hanrahan, Ayala, King, Rauch, Rivera, Colome.

What they'll do when Hill is ready, I just don't know....There's an obvious logjam with Orr and Boone, as both deserve playing time. But, I wouldn't be surprised to see Rivera be sent down, if Colome is ready and Ayala truly healthy.

Posted by: Fisch Fry | March 14, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Pitchers (11):
Jason Bergmann
Jesus Colome
Chad Cordero
Joel Hanrahan
Ray King
Mike O'Connor
John Patterson
Odalis Perez
Jon Rauch
Tim Redding
Saul Rivera

Catchers (2):
Jesus Flores
Paul Lo Duca

Infielders (5):
Ronnie Belliard
Cristian Guzman
Felipe Lopez
Dmitri Young
Ryan Zimmerman

Outfielders (6):
Elijah Dukes
Alex Escobar
Austin Kearns
Ryan Langerhans
Rob Mackowiak
Lastings Milledge
Wily Mo Pena

Posted by: NewNatsFan | March 14, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

SP (5): Patterson, Redding, Bergmann, Perez, Chico
RP (7): Cordero, Rauch, Rivera, King, Colome, Ayala, Hanrahan
OF (5): Dukes, Milledge, Kearns, Mackowiak, Harris
IF (6): Zimmerman, Guzman, Lopez, Belliard, Young, Johnson
C (2): LoDuca, Cota
DL (2): Hill, Pena

Posted by: Dave at Bottomfeeder Baseball | March 14, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

SP: Patterson, Bergmann, OPerez, Redding Lannan
RP: Hanrahan, Rivera, Colome, Ayala, King, Rauch, Cordero

INF: Johnson, Belliard, CGuzman, Zimmerman, Lo Duca, Young, Flores, Lopez, ABoone, Whitney (rule5)

OF: Dukes, Milledge, Kearns, Mackiowak

IR: Wagner, Estrada, Hill, Pena

rule5 returned/traded for: GGuzman

40man guys dropped to make room for King and OPerez: Langerhans (we have an open spot right now)

Posted by: Sec131 | March 14, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

SP:
Jason Bergmann
John Patterson
Tim Redding
Matt Chico

RP:
Chad Cordero
Jon Rauch
Saul Rivera
Jesus Colome
Luis Ayala
Ray "Burger" King (needs move)
Chris Schroder

C:
Paul Lo Duca
Humberto Cota (needs move)

1B:
Nick Johnson
Aaron Boone

2B:
Ronnie Belliard

SS:
Cristian Guzman
Felipe Lopez

3B:
Ryan Zimmerman
Rob Mackowiak

OF:
Elijah Dukes
Lastings Milledge
Austin Kearns
Ryan Langerhans
Garrett Guzman

DL:
Wily Mo Pena
Shawn Hill
Alex Escobar
Ryan Wagner

Traded:
Dmitri Young
Willie Harris
Bret Boone

Waivers:
Joel Hanrahan (after being bombed in last ST outing, Nats will try to clear him through, will be claimed)

Minors:
Wil Nieves
John Lannan (will be called up soon to replace JP when he gets injured)
Odalis Perez
Kory Casto

Returned: Matt Whitney

Posted by: Mary | March 14, 2008 7:28 PM | Report abuse

McGeary pitched a bullpen Thursday afternoon with JimBO & Randy watching.
He was very poised. He had very consistant mechanics. Throws steadily down in the strike zone with a good lafty curveball. Randy has a good raw piece of marble to sculpt into a masterpiece.

Posted by: ST Reporter (Barry can't be everywhere) | March 14, 2008 7:36 PM | Report abuse

SP:Patterson,bergman,perez,redding Rp:Cordero,Rauch,Ayala,Colome,Rivera,Scrhod-er

Posted by: DJ 26 | March 15, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Sp:Patterson,Bergman,Perez,Redding Rp:Cordero,Rauch,Rivera,Ayala,Colome,Schroder,king Bench:Mackowiak,Harris,A.Boone,Cota,Whitney,G.Guzman Starting 8 C.Guzman Milledge Zimmerman Johnson Kearns Dukes B.Boone LoDuca Lopez,Belliard,Young all traded Hill,Estarda and Pena on Dl.

Posted by: DJ 26 | March 15, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

OK - I'm late to the party, but:

SP - Bergmann, Patterson, Redding, Chico
RP - Cordero, Rauch, Ayala, King, Rivera, Schroder, Hanrahan
OF - Dukes, Milledge, Kearns, Harris, GGuzman
IF - Johnson, Young, Belliard, FLopez, CGuzman, Zimmerman, ABoone
C - Lo Duca, Cota

DL - Pena, Hill, Estrada

Colome, Mackowiak - released or traded
BBoone - allowed to find another team
Whitney - returned to the Indians (barring a trade)

Posted by: PTBNL | March 15, 2008 7:03 PM | Report abuse

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