It's somewhat unusual - shoot, it's almost unheard of - for a second-division club that's trying to build a winner to actually get older in the off-season, but that seems to be what the Nationals have done with their most recent roster moves.
At this point it appears that non-roster invitees Alex Cora (35 years old), Laynce Nix (30), Chad Gaudin (28) and and Matt Stairs (43) will all be on the opening day roster, along with fee agent Jerry Hairston Jr. (34) It goes against conventional wisdom, yes, but with no long-term obligations to any of them, it allows some younger players with remaining minor league options more time to hone their skills by playing every day in Triple-A.
There's question that guys like Ross Detwiler, Roger Bernadina and Jesus Flores can play at the major league level right now, but the club controls their contracts for another few years, and there's a good chance they'll all be back in D.C. before season's end. Alberto Gonzalez gets traded to San Diego, where he likely won't play any more than he did in Washington, barring an injury to a regular.
It's easy to second-guess some of the Nationals' roster decisions before they've played a game. If things bog down, I don't expect general manager Mike Rizzo or manager Jim Riggleman to stick with something that isn't working.
One thing we know, almost for certain: This won't be a running team. I don't see anyone on this roster who will have carte blanche to run at will. Going from first to third on an outfield single is still on the table, but some of these guys are a little heavy-legged, if you know what I mean.
It's a far cry from George Allen's Over-the-Hill Gang, but it does go against the grain. The Nationals are determined to score a lot more runs than the 655 they tallied last year. Maybe this mix of bats will get it done.