Eight cuts left to make

VIERA, Fla. - Last night's release of catcher Chris Snyder leaves the Nationals with 34 players remaining in big league camp, 33 of which are active and participating in games.

Right-hander Erik Davis is progressing from a right elbow injury, but he will start the season still on the 60-day disabled list, and so he is not currently on the 40-man roster or a factor in the decisions the Nats must make before opening day.

The 33 remaining active players are listed below, split up into position groups. Let's take a look at who's left:

Starting Pitchers
Stephen Strasburg
Gio Gonzalez
Jordan Zimmermann
Doug Fister
Taylor Jordan
Tanner Roark
Chris Young

Relievers
Rafael Soriano
Tyler Clippard
Drew Storen
Craig Stammen
Jerry Blevins
Ross Detwiler
Aaron Barrett
Ryan Mattheus
Xavier Cedeno
Michael Gonzalez

Catchers
Wilson Ramos
Jose Lobaton
Sandy Leon

Infielders
Adam LaRoche
Anthony Rendon
Ian Desmond
Ryan Zimmerman
Danny Espinosa
Jamey Carroll
Tyler Moore
Jeff Kobernus

Outfielders
Bryce Harper
Denard Span
Jayson Werth
Nate McLouth
Scott Hairston

Young, Michael Gonzalez and Carroll are all in camp on minor league deals, so the Nats would need to add them to the big league roster and clear a spot on the 40-man in order to have them as part of the team come opening day.

If the Nats do indeed need to clear a 40-man spot, outfielder Eury Perez or catcher Jhonatan Solano could be the most at risk of being designated for assignment in order to make room on the roster.

Young will end up either traded, given his outright release or reassigned to minor league camp over the next handful of days. He has an opt-out clause in his minor league deal that can be exercised on Thursday, and while the Nats would like to stash him at Triple-A Syracuse as starting depth, the veteran right-hander might have pitched well enough this spring to find a big league job elsewhere.

Leon will be optioned by the end of this week, as well, as Lobaton has the backup catcher job locked up. That leaves six cuts that will need to be made.

Kobernus is versatile and has impressive speed, but he won't crack Matt Williams' 25-man opening day roster. Neither will Mattheus, who won't have gotten enough innings under his belt in order to be fully stretched out

That gets us down to four. And this is where things get tough.

It sure seems the final bench spot will come down to Carroll, the scrappy veteran utility infielder, or Moore, the power-hitting first baseman/corner outfielder. Moore has options remaining, so the Nats can send him down to Triple-A and keep him within the organization if they so choose. It remains to be seen whether Carroll would accept an assignment to the minors.

On the pitching side, there's a chance the Nats keep a third southpaw in the 'pen, but more than likely, Cedeno and Michael Gonzalez will be cut. Cedeno has an option remaining, so the Nats wouldn't risk losing him. Gonzalez can become a free agent Thursday, if he so chooses, if he's not put on the Nats' major league roster.

Jordan and Roark are competing for the final rotation spot. If Jordan wins it, Roark could nab the final bullpen spot. If Roark wins it, Jordan will be sent to Triple-A, and Barrett (or potentially one of the lefties) could slide in and make the opening day bullpen.

If, for some reason, Fister isn't ready to start the season in the rotation, Jordan and Roark could end up getting starting spots for the time being, with Barrett, Cedeno or Gonzalez in the 'pen.

Lots of tough decisions lie ahead. But we should know how things will come together soon enough.

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