VIERA, Fla. - Oh yeah, Bryce Harper wasn’t the only guy cut from the Nationals’ big league roster yesterday.
The other three haven’t gotten quite as much attention, for whatever reason. Not exactly sure why.
In addition to Harper, the Nationals also optioned first baseman Tyler Moore and catcher Jhonatan Solano to Triple-A Syracuse yesterday, and reassigned infielder Mark Teahen to minor league camp.
It’s important to note that just because a player has been optioned to a certain affiliate, that doesn’t mean he will end up on that affiliate’s roster. It’s mostly a clerical move because players need to be optioned to a specific team, but those teams’ rosters will not be decided until the end of camp.
Still, both Moore and Solano are almost certain to start the season with Harper at Syracuse.
The four cuts leave the Nationals with 37 players in big league camp, meaning they’ll need to drop 12 more guys before heading north. Two of those 12 will be first baseman Chris Marrero and right-hander Cole Kimball, who will head to the 60-day DL to start the season.
Among the four guys let go yesterday, the biggest name other than Harper is Moore, the power-hitting 25-year-old who has smacked 31 home runs each of the last two seasons (at Single-A Potomac in 2010 and Double-A Harrisburg in 2011).
Moore hit .296 (8-for-27) in his time in big league camp, and, for what it’s worth, leaves on a positive note after homering and adding a double in yesterday’s game against the Tigers.
The Nats never considered Moore for the opening day roster, wanting him to play every day and get time at Triple-A before he reaches the big leagues, but they haven’t ruled out calling up the 6-foot-2, 185-lb. first baseman at some point later this season if he continues to progress. It’s also not out of the question that Moore comes into camp next spring with a shot to earn a job as the Nats’ starting first baseman.
Moore will need to work on cutting down on the strikeouts, however; he had 139 strikeouts to just 30 walks at Harrisburg last season.
Solano went just 1-of-13 (.077) with the Nats this camp, but he did show flashes defensively, throwing out three runners trying to steal.
Teahen, who was signed to a minor-league deal this offseason, went 5-for-27 (.185) with three RBIs.