Some call it O-O days in Spring Training when veterans who signed those Minor League deals must make the decision to “opt-out”. Most had been thinking the big O-O would have been with Bronson Arroyo and the two to watch now are Sean Burnett on April 1st and Matt Belisle today. There are also decisions on Chris Heisey, Reed Johnson, Tony Campana, Scott Sizemore, and Brendan Ryan.
Here’s another issue—none of these players mentioned are on the 40 man roster. As of today, there is 1 opening that came from the Tyler Moore waiver and subsequent assignment to AAA. The other easy move is moving Aaron Barrett to the 60-day DL which will free up 1 more spot. There is no obvious choice if Rizzo wants to add a 3rd player to the 40 man roster.
If Mike Rizzo decides to go 8 deep in the bullpen on the Opening Day roster and keep Joe Ross at extended Spring Training, the Nats could go with Papelbon, Rivero, Shawn Kelley, Yusmeiro Petit, and Oliver Perez as the locks. That is 5 spots. Treinen looks to be the 6th. Rizzo and Baker could go with Belisle and Burnett to make a 8 man bullpen and then delay another roster move for mid-April when they activate Joe Ross.
The problem with that scenario is that it leaves no 40 man spots open for adding Chris Heisey, Reed Johnson, et al, to the bench which would be fine if they decided Matt den Dekker was their ultimate choice -or- the Nats could go with Sean Burnett and Trevor Gott for the bullpen and then use the last 40 man spot for one of the bench hopefuls. Trevor Gott is already on the 40 man roster.
Today is also the day that teams will usually make significant cuts to get their Spring Training rosters, and get down to 30 to 32 players as today marks the last full week of Spring Training officially.
Scott Sizemore was one of those early Spring hopefuls, and he has faded into the sunset from that blistering hot start he had blasting 3 HRs in his first week in the Spring. He is now 2-12 in his last dozen at-bats and looks to be headed for AAA.
The other wrench in the personnel decisions is that the Nats have split-squad games today and that could delay Rizzo and Dusty to wait until tonight or tomorrow morning to make cuts except Belisle who needs an answer today due to his opt-out decision.
Nats split-squad at NY Mets:
- Michael A. Taylor CF
- Danny Espinosa SS
- Anthony Rendon 3B
- Clint Robinson 1B
- Reed Johnson RF
- Tony Campana LF
- Trea Turner 2B
- Jose Lobaton C
- Yusmeiro Petit RHP
Petit is scheduled to go approximately 5 IP/75 pitches
Nats split-squad home vs. Braves:
- Ben Revere CF
- Daniel Murphy 2B
- Bryce Harper RF
- Ryan Zimmerman 1B
- Jayson Werth LF
- Wilson Ramos C
- Stephen Drew 3B
- Brendan Ryan SS
- Gio Gonzalez LHP
Gio is scheduled to go approximately 6 IP/100 pitches
Darren Baker is in Viera and is getting pointers from his dad and this is a great picture taken by Sol Tucker for TalkNats:
— TALK NATS (@GoingDeepNats) March 27, 2016
The Nats game in Viera with the Braves will be shown on MASN as well as heard on 106.7FM radio. The game in Port St. Lucie against the Mets is available on Mets radio and TV via the MLB App.
We will attempt to update you on both games.
Split squad today. Here are the #Nats lineups.
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) March 27, 2016
Papelbon and Bryce Harper do their version of the Dusty Baker High-5