The last few days of spring training camp feels a little like a dramatic scene from the popular TV show The Bachelor but luckily no video cameras are rolling. A 20-something-year-old bachelor gets his heart ripped out like A.J. Cole, Trevor Gott, Jacob Turner, Vance Worley and you can expect Wilmer Difo or Michael Taylor to join them shortly as the bench is all but set with Jose Lobaton, Stephen Drew, Chris Heisey, and Adam Lind which leaves room for one more player in a pick ’em of Difo or Taylor. Most expect Taylor will get the spot.
There have been plenty of 30-something-year-olds who were dealt the reality of not making the team like Clint Robinson, Jhonatan Solano and Neal Cotts. In addition, there was even a quadragenarian who made it to the final week of camp, as the 42-year-old Joe Nathan showed he still had something left in the tank as he was hitting 92-93 consistently on the radar gun early in camp. Unfortunately for Nathan, this wasn’t the 2009 edition of the Washington Nationals where he would have made that team; the 2017 Washington Nationals is looking for ‘sure things’. Baseball can be cruel and while Joe Nathan had a 16-year career, Clint Robinson has only amassed a total of 243 MLB games on his resumé and that only helps for a small pension. If you can make it six years as a full-time member of the Major League Baseball Players Association, you are generally looking at a $50,000 a year pension when you turn 45-years-old. For some ex-players, that is what you need to supplement an income when you’re working as a high school coach back in your hometown.
The bullpen is now down to 8 players with Oliver Perez, Sammy Solis, Enny Romero, Joe Blanton, Shawn Kelley, Blake Treinen, and Koda Glover plus Jeremy Guthrie. Who stays and who goes? Could Mike Rizzo start with an 8-man bullpen until the 5th starter is needed on game #6 of the schedule? Could a player end up on the DL with a hand nail? We expect Enny Romero to be a lock for the bullpen and hope he does not spend too much of his first paycheck on jewelry as he was posing for a pic yesterday with Miami’s Joe the Jeweler who puts the bling in bling and is known as the ‘jeweler to playas’.
So it looks like if the Nats choose to go with a long-man, Jeremy Guthrie is the guy. Has had a great spring.
— Dan Kolko (@masnKolko) March 29, 2017
After all of the moves through this morning, 27 players remain on spring training roster and that number must be 25 before Opening Day. There are two spots remaining on the 40-man roster, and of those 27 players, the only player who needs a spot on the 40-man roster is the last long-man standing, Jeremy Guthrie. The final decisions are the toughest.
Today is an early game at 12:05pm in Jupiter, Florida. The remaining players will pack up for their bus ride to Ft. Myers tomorrow against the Red Sox, and then their subsequent flight on a Delta charter to Washington, D.C. to prepare for the two-game weekend series at Nats Park and the Naval Academy with the Red Sox. Opening Day is of course on Monday at Nationals Park.
Today’s line-up features the Washington Nationals’ top prospect Victor Robles playing right field. Today’s line-up is a mix of starters like Zim and Wieters and of course Stephen Strasburg and the two bench hopefuls in Difo and Taylor.
- Wilmer Difo SS
- Brandon Snyder 2B
- Ryan Zimmerman 1B
- Matt Wieters C
- Adam Lind LF
- Michael Taylor CF
- Stephen Drew 3B
- Victor Robles RF
- Stephen Strasburg RHP
This game is not televised but can be heard on Cardinals radio on the MLB app.