Both Davis (a reliever) and Karns (a starter) are now protected from the Rule 5 draft which will take place in a little over two weeks. Come spring, they’ll get to spend some time in big league camp and also get some personal satisfaction in knowing the Nationals value them enough that they didn’t want to risk losing them to another organization.
Yesterday’s roster moves leave the Nationals with two open spots on their 40-man roster, but don’t expect the roster to stay set for long.
Keep in mind that the Nats still have yet to sign a single major league free agent or make a trade, and will need to have roster spots available for when they do so. Adam LaRoche still could return, a left-handed reliever or two must still be added, an outfielder could be brought on, and other tinkering can probably be expected, as well.
Eligible minor leaguers from within the organization cannot be added to the roster now that last night’s 11:59 p.m. deadline has passed, but just because a player is on the 40-man as of this morning doesn’t necessarily mean that he will be come the first day of spring training.
Lannan and Flores will be shopped around in the next nine days, with the Nats looking to possibly trade the left-handed starter and 28-year-old catcher before the Nov. 30 deadline by which teams must tender arbitration-eligible players a contract.
We’ve talked a bunch about Lannan and where he stands; he’s likely to make around $5 million again this season, which the Nationals appear unwilling to pay. They appear more likely to add another starter to fill out their rotation via a trade or free agency.
With Flores, it’s less of a monetary issue and more of a situation where he simply doesn’t have a place on the Nats’ major league roster anymore.
With the acquisition of Kurt Suzuki this summer and a healthy Wilson Ramos expected to return for spring training, the Nationals feel they have their two major league catchers for the 2013 season. Suzuki excelled down the stretch this season as a clutch hitter and really impressed the Nats’ coaching staff with the way he handled a pitching staff. Ramos, back from surgeries to repair a torn meniscus and ACL, is still viewed as the team’s catcher of the future.
That was a title Flores once held, but a major shoulder injury, which required labrum surgery, cost him multiple seasons and bumped him down on the organizational depth chart. When Flores did return healthy this season, he was ineffective, and now his run in D.C. might be over.
Flores still has some value because of his age and potential. He’s projected to make around $1.2 million in his final year of arbitration, but for a team searching to improve their depth behind the plate, Flores might be a nice fit as a backup. Given a fresh start, he might even find his previous form.
The Nationals probably wouldn’t get much in return should they find a trade partner for Flores, but there could be some interest.
Regardless of whether he’s eventually traded or not, however, while Flores is on the Nats’ 40-man roster for now, he most likely won’t be by the time December’s Winter Meetings come around.