When James Wood makes his MLB debut, what will the Nats’ roster look like?

Expect by June 14, the Washington Nationals will have a very different looking roster if the team stays competitive. There are players on the mend like Cade Cavalli (mid-June from TJ), Stone Garrett (leg and ankle), Victor Robles (hamstring), Lane Thomas (knee MCL), Joey Gallo (shoulder AC joint), Josiah Gray (forearm muscle), and Robert Garcia (flu). And then you have top prospect James Wood healthy and ready in Triple-A Rochester.

To some, it sure seems like Robles has been Wally Pipped by Jacob Young — but is there still a starting spot for Robles? General Manager Mike Rizzo and field manager Dave Martinez have some tough decisions ahead. Robles was injured in the first week of the season which didn’t really give any sample size of concrete numbers of what he was looking like with no hits, and three walks. The team wasn’t even starting Robles against right-handed pitching in that first week. On top of that, Thomas was slashing a weak .184/.250/.253 and a .503 OPS when he was injured. Garrett has done nothing special in the minor leagues, and before Gallo’s injury was disclosed, he was batting .122 with a strikeout pace of 279 before landing on the 10-day IL on Saturday. On the pitching side, Gray had a 14.04 ERA and lost both of his starts — so why would you rush back any of those players? Great question.

A different story with Cavalli as he should be able to come in, and the hope is that he could replace the oft-struggling Patrick Corbin and his 6.82 ERA. If Cavalli could be just league average, that could reap huge dividends for a Nationals team that finds itself at 14-14 and in the middle of the NL East and tied for third place as of right now.

We have asked sources who said it is too early to know any of the upcoming roster moves, and what the team would do with Corbin. When Martinez announced that Robles was going for a rehab assignment with Triple-A Rochester, he said he didn’t know who would come off of the roster when Robles returns.

Who are the candidates to leave if Young stays? Alex Call, Eddie Rosario, and Nasim Nunez would seem to be the top-3 candidates to leave when Robles returns. When Garcia returns, it might be the end of the road for Tanner Rainey who looks to be the weakest link in the bullpen chain. While Call is doing great in his 2-game sample size, the team might want to give Rosario a little more rope even though he is hitting a pitcher’s slash of .092/.143/.169 and a .312 OPS. He is below Half Mendoza!

Instead of a back-n-forth on each player, what would a mid-June roster look like:

  1. CJ Abrams SS L
  2. Nick Senzel 3B R
  3. Jesse Winker DH L
  4. Lane Thomas RF R
  5. James Wood LF L
  6. Keibert Ruiz C S
  7. Luis Garcia 2B L
  8. Joey Meneses 1B R
  9. Jacob Young CF R

Bench: Riley Adams C R, Victor Robles OF R, Nasim Nunez IF S, Ildemaro Vargas IF S

  1. MacKenzie Gore LHP
  2. Jake Irvin RHP
  3. Mitchell Parker LHP
  4. Cade Cavalli RHP
  5. Josiah Gray RHP or Trevor Williams RHP or Patrick Corbin LHP

Bullpen: Robert Garcia LH, Jordan Weems RH, Jacob Barnes RH, Matt Barnes RH, Derek Law, Dylan Floro RH, Kyle Finnegan RH, Hunter Harvey RH

A roster like that would look like a whole lot of tough decisions were made before that roster went into effect. That would mean the team cut ties with Rosario and Gallo and sent Trey Lipscomb and Call back to the Minors, put Rainey out on waivers, and had to choose between Gray, Williams and Corbin. Is Rizzo ready to part with any of those players? What happens if Thomas and Meneses can’t get their seasons going? Could Gray head back to the minors to find himself?

If the Nats could remain competitive with that roster into July and find themselves above .500, you might actually see the Nationals as a buyer at the trade deadline — not in an aggressive way but looking to fill some holes. Also, September roster expansion could bring top prospects like Dylan Crews and Brady House onto the roster.

As always, what are your thoughts?

This entry was posted in Analysis, Roster. Bookmark the permalink.