One man's Nationals roster guess and links
One full week into their Grapefruit League schedule, the Nationals are still looking for their first win. That's not the worst news this spring, and General Manager Mike Rizzo doesn't worry at all about the spring training record. In the standings, the Nationals are the only team without a victory. With John Lannan going three innings today against the Astros, that could change soon.
But the record isn't what matters, at least not yet. The Nationals want to shape their roster and ensure their regulars head north ready for the season. With that in mind, after one week of games, here's one educated crack at the 25-man roster:
John Lannan: The only question is if he starts on Opening Day ...
Jason Marquis: ... or if he does. It's likely going to be Lannan.
Scott Olsen: He says his surgically repaired shoulder will be ready. He got hit hard in his first outing, but he said he still feels good.
Livan Hernandez: Livo will soak up innings and school the kids on the links until Stephen Strasburg and the arbitration clock are good and ready.
Matt Chico: Could just as easily be Garrett Mock or J.D. Martin, but Chico has started 30-plus games in a season before.
Tyler Clippard: A lefty specialist in disguise, he held lefties to a .122 average last year.
Brian Bruney: He'll bring some intensity to the eighth inning.
Matt Capps: The likely closer has been shaky so far in three outings, but neither he nor Jim Riggleman has expressed concern.
Sean Burnett: Right-handers actually had more trouble against him than lefties; they hit .176 against him, compared to .186 for lefties.
Jason Bergmann: The Nationals' career strikeout leader, with 297. (Livo is second with 263.)
Miguel Batista: He was better than you may have thought last year for Seattle; he had a 106 ERA+ in 56 appearances. Plus he can start in a pinch.
Craig Stammen: Tough spot to call. Could be Tyler Walker or Ron Villone, who Riggleman loves having around. Stammen, like Batista, can start in a pinch. Given the uncertainty of Olsen's health, the Nationals may want two long relievers to avoid an early-season innings crunch against vicious schedule.
UPDATE, 11:08: I should have explained leaving Drew Storen off. I actually had him on and then changed my mind at the last minute. I still think they're going to want to start him in the minors, the thinking the same as with Stephen Strasburg despite Storen's minors experience last year. I'll say this; If the decision comes down to who the seven best relievers are and nothing else, Storen makes it without question.
Ivan Rodriguez: They're going to miss Jesus Flores on offense.
Adam Dunn: Will the full-time shift to first base affect his remarkable offensive consistency?
Adam Kennedy: So quiet and steady you sometimes forget he's there.
Ryan Zimmerman: Somewhat overlooked since Strasburg's arrival, he's going to be one of the game's best players.
Cristian Guzman: All things being equal, Ian Desmond might be the better choice by the end of spring. Guzman's $8 million salary means all things aren't equal.
Josh Willingham: The Nationals know exactly what they're getting every day.
Nyjer Morgan: One of baseball's best sparkplugs as long as he remembers to slide feet first.
Elijah Dukes: He knows it's a make-or-break season for him.
Wil Nieves: With Jesus Flores out for the foreseeable future, Nieves is the man behind Pudge.
Willie Harris: Any team would be happy to have a lefthanded bat who plays everywhere as their super-utility man.
Mike Morse: At 27, through 392 plate appearances, Morse has a 106 OPS+. At 25, through 430 plate appearances, Jayson Werth had a 105 OPS+. Mike Rizzo knew that when he traded for Morse.
Ian Desmond: He's probably been the Nationals best player during the first week of games. He could challenge for the starting shortstop role, but either way the Nationals will find him enough at-bats.
Roger Bernadina: Unable to swing with his broken ankle, Bernadina became a better bunter this offseason.
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