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Martis, Zimmermann Make Rotation; Pena Placed On Waivers

The Nationals this morning made a flurry of roster moves and decisions, finalizing their starting rotation, reassigning several veterans to minor league camp, and placing outfielder Wily Mo Pena on waivers.

Here's the skeletal breakdown:

* Washington named Shairon Martis as its fourth starter; Martis will open the year with the big league club.

* Washington named Jordan Zimmermann as its fifth starter. The Nats will not need a fifth starter until April 19, and Zimmermann will be kept in the minors -- probably with Class AAA Syracuse -- until then.

* Washington placed outfielder Wily Mo Pena on waivers, meaning any other club can claim him. Provided that does not happen -- and it won't, because any club claiming him would assume his guaranteed $2 million contract -- and Pena clears waivers, he can either report to Class AAA Syracuse or opt for free agency. In a bizarre scene this morning in the clubhouse, Pena received the news, quickly made the rounds in the clubhouse, shaking hands, leaving behind a full locker, and departed without comment. "I'm not talking," Pena said. No matter what, to be clear, Pena gets his $2 million.

* Washington optioned pitcher Collin Balester, the other candidate for the rotation, to Class AAA Syracuse.

* Washington assigned infielder Jose Castillo and outfielder Corey Patterson to minor league camp.

* Catcher Javier Valentin declined his assignment to minor league camp, and became a free agent.

I'll post here -- with much, much more about the starting rotation decision -- as the morning rolls on.

By Chico Harlan  |  March 28, 2009; 9:31 AM ET
 
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Comments

See ya WMP

Posted by: theredskin | March 28, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

I think most of us saw these moves coming, especially WMP and the rotation. As for the Milledge debate...count me amongst those who would rather see him with the Chiefs. Sorry Lastings. I just think Dukes has more range and instincts to get the job done and Willingham/Kearns in right field just makes sense. I never want to see Dunn at first base, not ever! He can hide in left, like Hondo did those many moons ago.

Posted by: cokedispatch | March 28, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

JayBee et al:

I usually like reading JayBee's posts but this one about Milledge and Acta was a bit over the top. Do you really think Acta is deciding by himself to bat Milledge lead off and play him in CF? If you do, JayBee, I would respectfully ask you to consider what the heck Mike Rizzo's job is. The GM shapes the roster and the line up. Acta does not decide to send Milledge down, Rizzo does.

Now, I agree with you on some points concerning Milledge's play. If he played for me, he'd be sitting for some of his no hustle, stupid base running antics, mainly because as a HS coach I wouldn't have a GM to answer, just Milledge's parents. But to say that Acta should be fired because he is not sending Milledge to the minors is to not understand the dynamics of a big league club.

#4

Posted by: db423 | March 28, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Love the rotation. With Lannan, Zimm, and Martis, we have a hell of a future in starting pitching!

Posted by: usmc53 | March 28, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Praise the lord 2 more links from the PTBowdoin-Reds chain begone!

To bad for Ballester but frankly the guy was tossing gopher balls in March and that ain't gonna play on Broadway come April thru Sept.

The Marlins gave up Mike Jacobs, Willingham and Olsen this winter, of course Bowden couldn't see the forest from the tree's and he passes up on Jacobs leaving Rizzo and Acta the possibility of a tension rifted clubhouse becuase you have 5 starters with only 3 position spots. Okay, okay we all know that Willingham can play first base, but last time I checked Nick Johnson still had all his body parts in check!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | March 28, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse


So optimistic,
I dream of Teddy winning.
(That's just crazy talk).

Posted by: HaikuMan | March 28, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Rotation - Makes sense. Bally should be the first one up following an injury or bad outings, assuming he stays healthy and throws the ball well (and he will).

Pena - So when no one claims him he goes off of the 40 man, right? If he can get things fixed and he's healthy he should absolutely rake.

I mean, would he really opt for free agency???

Posted by: AnonymousSources | March 28, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Pena is in essence already off of the 40-man roster. If another team claims him on waivers, he and his salary are assumed by the claiming team. If he were to clear waivers, he could opt to accept an assignment to Syracuse or become a free agent. Either way he would get his $2 million. And if I were Pena, I'd strongly consider going to an AL team where the DH gives him another potential roster spot.

Posted by: Brian_ | March 28, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Carrying forward: Concerns re. Milledge's play aside, I don't understand exactly how this situation compares to the issue of having played a number of high-priced veterans last year in order to showcase them.

Also, what is bizarre about the scene? That Pena's locker was left full?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 28, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Nicely done, haikuman.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 28, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

If no one claims Pena on waivers, are the Nats obligated to give Pena a spot at AAA or can they just give him his $2 mil check and give him his release? Pena is worth wasting a spot at AAA on.

Posted by: raymitten | March 28, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

I meant to say Pena is NOT worth wasting a AAA spot on....

Posted by: raymitten | March 28, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Chico - Thanks!

Ouch, WMP and that $2 million guarantee. Put that in the "Bust" column along with last year.

So by the looks of it and reading between the lines, the Nats will play JZim and not roll back his "Arb" clock vs. what the angelO's are doing with Wieters.

Personally, I thought JZim needed more time in the Minors and this appears to me to be the Nats wanting to make the fanbase happy, but JZim really worked hard and had a great ST.

So CBaly is the odd man out in the rotation. Even with the Shawn Hill move, the Nats rewarded the 4 that did the best with I guess with hopes that DCab will be a positive in the 3rd spot in the rotation.

JLan
SOls
DCab
SMarti
JZim

Chico - Where does the bullpen shake out?

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | March 28, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Also, what is bizarre about the scene? That Pena's locker was left full?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 28, 2009 10:28 AM
_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+

Nothing bizarre. Slammy Sosa did the same thing when he left the O's in disgust. It's basically, you keep my sh!t because I don't want it.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | March 28, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

If WMP goes to AAA, there is always the possibility he will be back. Remember, he is not competing against superstars in Syracuse.

Posted by: kevincostello | March 28, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Watching the World Basball Classic it is obvious Adam Dunn cannot play 1st base or the outfield. He should have signed on with an American League team for a DH position. Josh Wilingham is a gamer.

Posted by: dlichterman | March 28, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

WMP - Looks like Tarzan....Plays like Jane. Farewell

Posted by: gldenboy05 | March 28, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Is this possibly the weakest starting rotation in the majors? Coupled with a weak bullpen? Who will KC or Pittsburgh have?

I do not regard Kearns, Milledge or Dukes as major-league-level talent. Kearns can't hit, and the latter two lack smarts and discipline. Don't know about Willingham. He has some creds, though. The others don't, IMHO. IOt should be interesting when Willingham's on the bench and Dukes does the usual thing of misplaying fly balls. Don't even talk about Dunn.

Looks like another long season, in spite of Kasten's strained enthusiasm.

Posted by: JohnRDC | March 28, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

John - Dukes is definitely Major League talent and a potential 30/30 guy so not sure of your rating system.

Kearns is now in a backup role which he should have been his entire tenure in Washington.

Millege is young and has potential. He has upped his hustle and now needs to show us he can use his brain too.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | March 28, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

"I do not regard Kearns, Milledge or Dukes as major-league-level talent. Kearns can't hit, and the latter two lack smarts and discipline."

And that's why JohnRDC is commenting on a blog post and not scouting prospects in Nebraska. ;)

Posted by: Uncle_Teddy | March 28, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

JohnR... all 3 (Milledge, Dukes, Kearns) are clearly MLB caliber. Milledge has silly bat speed and tremendous upside. If/when he ever grasps the concepts of professionalism and team play, he'll be superb. Dukes might be even better -- can't believe a guy his size moves as well as he does. He needs to mature some, same as Milledge, but both have extraordinary potential. Kearns has been struggling for a few years now but if he's your fourth outfielder (or fifth? where does Willingham fit?) you're doing pretty well.

I agree with Going -- not sure how you evaluate baseball skill but these guys are certainly major league caliber.

Posted by: outsider6 | March 28, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Pena - If he can get things fixed and he's healthy he should absolutely rake??

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

Not sure what rake means. If it means being the largest, biggest built slap singles hitter in the history of the game, then I agree WMP is rake.

What good is a massive oaf who cannot play defense, and can only hit weak shots up the middle, who hits as if he is swinging a tennis racket or pool cue, not a real bat....

Posted by: fischy | March 28, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

We haven't had a big time prospect in Nebraska since Alex Gordon got drafted. There is a fireballer in the Husker bullpen that will get some buzz though.

Posted by: tallbaby2121 | March 28, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

"What good is a massive oaf who cannot play defense, and can only hit weak shots up the middle, who hits as if he is swinging a tennis racket or pool cue, not a real bat...."

Uh, because if Pena gets his game together, he's not a singles hitter. Which do you think was the aberration, last season, or his entire career?

Posted by: Tank2 | March 28, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

"We haven't had a big time prospect in Nebraska since Alex Gordon got drafted"

Joba Chamberlain went to Nebraska

Posted by: JDB1 | March 28, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

"Is this possibly the weakest starting rotation in the majors? Coupled with a weak bullpen?"

The team an hour to the North has a weaker one. Pittsburgh's is weaker. Milwaukee? Seattle? Aside from Peavy, Sd? Don't talk about Chris Young. Come September when Mr Strasburg arrives, Booom.

A little liight is starting to sneak through. We are getting there slowly but surely

Posted by: JDB1 | March 28, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I sure hope the Nat's play better than last year.

Posted by: usnavycmcellis | March 28, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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