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Nats Cut Six, Including The GBE

After today's game, the Nationals made their latest round of cuts, trimming their spring roster by six.

Reassigned to minor league camp:

* P Gustavo Chacin
* 1B Brad Eldred
* INF Pete Orr
* OF Ryan Langerhans

Optioned to Class AAA Syracuse:
(These are players currently on the team's 40-man roster)

* C Luke Montz
* OF Roger Bernadina

No real surprises here; the tougher decisions won't come until the roster thins a bit more. Bernadina had a decent spring (.250 AVG, 24 AB, 4 2B, .417 SLG), but was the victim of a loaded outfield. Montz will be the everyday catcher in Syracuse. Orr and Langerhans are your prototypical Class AAAA players, and both saw time with the Nats last year when injuries depleted the roster. Both were released after '08 and re-signed via minor league deals. Eldred is an intriguing player, only because he does two things: hits home runs and strikes out. (17 AB, 3 HR, 5 Ks this spring is a microcosm of his career) He's too young to be a prospect, but has a slight chance -- a very, very slight chance -- to resurface if the team makes some trades. More likely, he'll be a Syracuse legend and hit 37 HR and have his own bobblehead giveaway day by August.

Washington's spring training roster now stands at 41.

By Chico Harlan  |  March 19, 2009; 5:00 PM ET
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Next: The Numbers Behind The Change


Would it be possible for someone with more free time on their hands to post a list of the remaining 41 players in camp, along with their roster status?

Posted by: JohninMpls | March 19, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse


Thanks for that update. I sorta wish that Eldred could have stuck around a little longer, but I agree that he will be a Syracuse legend. I hope to visit my sister during the season and see at least one SkyChiefs game. I will have to chant GBE when he comes to bat.


Posted by: kevincostello | March 19, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

John - Here you go

Posted by: Brian_ | March 19, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

I oldposted myself. I knew this one had been posted:


I am totally with your analysis. Pete's sake, people keep waiting on Mark Prior to get it back. Kerry Wood had to become a reliever, but always seems ready to break.

Shawn Hill may make it. Somebody will take a chance on him, just like they did with Jon Patterson. We felt bad when Texas took him, but in the end he crapped out, too broken to play.

I think the team made a defensible move, even if later Hill comes back. I think it is much more likely that he will try, make a major league team for parts of seasons, and never fulfill his potential. Because of my fondness for the guy, I hope he at least has a part of a season that gets him a $1M contract that sticks, so he can start anew with a nest egg.

I just don't think the kid has the durability.


Posted by: kevincostello | March 19, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Pitchers: Lannan, Olsen, Cabrera, Zimmermann, Martis, Hanrahan, Beimel, Rivera, Shell, Bergmann, Colome, Hinckley and Tavarez, with Martis starting at Syracuse but called up as fifth starter.
Hitters: Flores, Nieves, Johnson, Willingham, Belliard, Hernandez, Guzman, Zimmerman, Dunn, Dukes, Milledge, Kearns, Harris.
Trade Johnson and/or Kearns for a young first baseman with upside and/or prospect(s), for example Travis Ishakawa or Daric Barton and/or prospect(s).

Posted by: Juliasdad | March 19, 2009 6:49 PM | Report abuse

I've enjoyed the GBE this spring. Good luck in Syracuse!! Yeah, we still need help at 1B - when was the last time NJ made it through an entire season?? And after last night's WBC game, I'm not sure Mr. Dunn is an acceptable alternative. I know we have others, but still.

Posted by: PattyinSJ | March 19, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Could someone explain why the Nationals' would burn options on Maxwell (last option) & Bernadina (one left), yet keep WMP in camp? They wrote off Hill (albeit at a discount), why not Pena? It's not like he's going to build trade value as a singles-hitting DH.

Posted by: BinM | March 19, 2009 7:41 PM | Report abuse

"He's too young to be a prospect"

another Chico error I believe

too old ....

Posted by: natbisquit | March 19, 2009 7:47 PM | Report abuse


If there really was any chance that WMP was going to make the team, that would matter. However, Maxwell was going down no matter what, and can go up and down all year. I guess the pressure is on. He has to be ready next year, or he is out of options.

Honestly, it is a shock to me to know that he is out of options. I wouldn't have figured the September call-up to count toward that. You are one of our better sources of fact, though.


Posted by: kevincostello | March 19, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

"Could someone explain why the Nationals' would burn options on Maxwell (last option) & Bernadina (one left), yet keep WMP in camp? "

No way any of those three would spend the whole season on the major league team this year, so you're asking an irrelevant question. Maxwell's and Bernardina's options would be burned this year eventually anyway, and WMP won't make the team at all. So it doesn't matter that their options are already being burned and WMP hasn't been cut yet.

Posted by: nunof1 | March 19, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like Maxwell is the center fielder when he is called back up. And Bernadina a decent backup. So ... does that make a trade of Millege almost a foregone conclusion as Dukes improves? Albeit he could be move over to another position should Dunn move to 1st base. And he is a lot younger than Harris and Willingham.

Posted by: periculum | March 19, 2009 8:35 PM | Report abuse

OK, so today's cuts "cull the herd" a little more for the Nationals. I'm personally a little nervous about 1) optioning Montz, with Flores' elbow still unproven, 2) optioning Bernadina & keeping both WMP (see 7:41 post) and Patterson.

I've gotta be honest, every day Patterson stays on this roster (or anywhere near it as an STI), I get a little more concerned. He's a good CF, but he has barely hit his weight over the last five years. I see him as close to Juan Pierre / Nook Logan, with a little more "pop" at the plate, but lacking the base-stealing ability.

Posted by: BinM | March 19, 2009 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone else feel like Maxwell is a shoo in to be the starting CF? Do people really think it's better than 50/50 that he can come to be the big leagues, play above average defense in CF, and hit say .280/20/85? I don't see that. Talk about a guy who cannot stay healthy. He was hurt in college and again last year. He's never really played a full season. He shows some good signs when he plays, but he's a .260 lifetime minor league hitter. I cannot believe the Nats see him as anything more than a fourth OF. If they are counting on him for 500 ABs at some point, that's poor judgment.


Posted by: db423 | March 19, 2009 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Eldred is 29.

Posted by: tommy11599 | March 19, 2009 8:50 PM | Report abuse


Did you see the USA/VEN game, or look at the box? Dunn at 1B is an abomination - I've railed all off-season against considering him there. He had two errors in nine innings against VEN, and got off light - he could have had one or two more, had the official scorer been paying attention.

Dunn needs to be in LF, RF, or at DH when he's in the lineup; he won't get the drills/reps he needs during the season to become even a passable 1B replacement.

Posted by: BinM | March 19, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse

You are so right BinM about Patterson. A rerun of Nook. I wonder if it's to try to build a fire under Milledge by keeping a (marginally) credible competitor around a while longer. Maxwell's just not there yet.

What's STI stand for?

Posted by: utec | March 19, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

I think it's spring training invitee.


Posted by: db423 | March 19, 2009 8:57 PM | Report abuse


STI= Spring Traing Invitee.

Posted by: BinM | March 19, 2009 8:57 PM | Report abuse

I still think the Nationals' will make a trade before ST ends, moving an OF (or two) & possibly an IF for prospects at MI & P.

Posted by: BinM | March 19, 2009 9:07 PM | Report abuse


One target could be hometown guy, Manny Burriss. He's locked in a battle for the 2B job in San Fran right now. If he loses it, the Giants might move him.


Posted by: db423 | March 19, 2009 9:14 PM | Report abuse

I still think the Nationals' will make a trade before ST ends, moving an OF (or two) & possibly an IF for prospects at MI & P.

Posted by: BinM | March 19, 2009 9:07 PM

You are so right. For pitching prospects. For pitching prospects. For pitching prospects. For pitching prospects. Milledge, packaged with others, solves several problems. Rizzo was out in front of the problem with Hill. He needs to get out in front of the problem with Milledge. We got rid of Bowden, one bad apple. Now another, Milledge. And number three? Olsen, anytime but after May is good; he will win some games before then, look attractive a bit, then fall apart in summer. Trade him before it happens. Fast Ball? Hah! THE RIGHTHANDED HITTING BONIFACIO TURNED ON IT, AND HE IS AT .160 RIGHTHANDED LAST YEAR. THE PITCHER DOUBLED AND WALKED OFF OLSEN. WHAT WILL HAPPEN AGAINST REAL HITTER HITTERS? HE'LL BECOME THE HOME RUN KING, OF COURSE. Willingham is a starter, a pro. Make it happen, Mr. Rizzo. Your cajones are much appreciated.

Posted by: nova_g_man | March 19, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse


Burriss is a possibility, but the questions are 1) does Burriss have options left, 2)do they have a percieved gap in the OF, and 3) what would they consider in return?

I don't think the Nationals' brain-trust would be looking for a 1B at this point (sorry, Juliasdad & others) - Between Whitney, Eldred, Rhinehart, Marrero & Lafave, there's enough in the pipeline for now.

Posted by: BinM | March 19, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse


You're right. I just like Manny. I got to coach him for a summer. He's a tremendously charismatic person and the fastest baseball player I've ever seen.


I can't say I agree with you. The Nats are much lighter in the prospect department with position players than with pitchers. I still see very few position player prospects in their system who've really done much.


Posted by: db423 | March 19, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse


Faster than Bonifacio, who's one of the quickest 1st-to-3rd I've ever seen?

Posted by: BinM | March 19, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse


He's the pitching equivalent of Waiting for Godot...except he never arrived.
Posted by: jdschulz50 | March 19, 2009 4:12 PM

Posted by: CEvansJr | March 19, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't bet against Manny is a foot race against anyone.


Posted by: db423 | March 19, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

I'm among those who would love to see Manny in a Nats' Uni (and then we can all sing "Sons of Wilson, School of Glory" when he comes up to bat) but, the Giants have far from passed on him. He is proving himself as a Major League player. Right now, the Giants seem to be trying to figure themselves out. After years of Barry Bonds, they need to re-orient themselves. They seem to be leaning towards a speed team and Manny certainly fits that mold. If you look at their rotation, they have three Cy Young winners. Even with R. Johnson almost ready to play in the Ponce de Leon 48+, their SPs could be significant. It looks as if they are looking for a 5 run average per game and counting on the mound. So, small ball. They won't give up a speedster who can bunt and knows how to steal bases.

Posted by: Catcher50 | March 19, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse


The Giants Web site has an interesting article about the battle for the 2B job. Manny seems to be about even with another guy, but the talk was about sending him back to AAA to play 2B every day. He's been at short as you probably know most of his career. Both guys are hitting about .350 this spring. Manny suffers because he hits with very little power. He's always been sort of a slap it and run guy. I seem to remember you umpire quite a bit. I'm sure you saw him in HS or summer league.


Posted by: db423 | March 19, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse


Even if you play "small-ball", a team still needs a proven deep-ball threat or two in the lineup.

I wonder if SF would consider this scenario - Milledge, Belliard & a CA prospect for Lowry or a high-ranked SP & Burriss? Could be a win-win, with Milledge firming up their OF, Belliard backing up 2B/3B, and a CA in their pipeline for a SP or a couple of prospects?

Posted by: BinM | March 19, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

They're not going to trade Milledge.

Posted by: nunof1 | March 19, 2009 10:54 PM | Report abuse

They're not going to trade Milledge.
Posted by: nunof1 | March 19, 2009 10:54 PM

We realize that. And it's a tragedy. There is no there there. He is not a Stan Kasten, Mike Rizzo, Marquis Grissom type. He's a bad actor. Quick bat, yes. End of story. There is NOTHING else. He is trade material. Would love to play against him. Since we have to get rid of an outfielder, why not him? Keep Kearns, get pitching.

Posted by: nova_g_man | March 19, 2009 11:06 PM | Report abuse

To Catcher 50:
I've seen the Sons of Wilson boarding the Red Line at Tenleytown the last 20 years or so. Believe me, there's not that much Glory left.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | March 20, 2009 1:19 AM | Report abuse

@ BinM and nova: why move Milledge and when did he become a 'bad apple' b/c he upset a few player in NY?? I'm not saying Milledge is the end all be all but lets give him a little time before we cast him aside. Remember he is even younger than Dukes. Willingham and Nick Johnson are the only ones with trade value that make sense to deal. i know some fans are worried about Dunn's defense at 1st but the WBC game isn't really indicative of ability. He played one game there with no prep time or practice. Anyways I wouldn't want Lowery he's not really any better than what we have right now.

Posted by: Steveo11 | March 20, 2009 3:51 AM | Report abuse

People were asking about options on some of the guys sent down. Maxwell has used his second option year, but since he spent the entire 2008 season in the minors, the Nats have a fourth option year on him. This means he can still be optioned in both 2010 and 2011.

Bernadina used an option year in 2008 when he was sent down after his time on the Nats. This is his second option year but as was already mentioned there was practically no way he was not going to be sent down at some time this year so it really does not matter whether it was today or a month from today, he still would have used an option.

Montz is an interesting case. If Flores is not healthy enough to start the season, the Nationals actually have 20 days from yesterday to call him back up and not use an option. But the case holds with Montz that does with Bernadina, the option year is going to be used on him at some point in 2009.

Posted by: Brian_ | March 20, 2009 5:41 AM | Report abuse

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