The Nationals made a trio of roster moves tonight, putting first baseman Chris Marrero and relievers Adam Carr and Cole Kimball on their 40-man roster. Those are largely procedural moves, meant to keep the players from being eligible for next month's Rule 5 draft. But they put some weight behind each player's standing in the organization.
Marrero's placement on the 40-man roster isn't a surprise; he was the Nationals' first-round pick in 2006 and is only 22, though his development has been slower than expected because of a pair of position switches and a broken leg that shortened his 2008 season. It's questionable whether Marrero is the first baseman of the future; he is mediocre at best in the field, and doesn't earn any points with the fact he's right-handed. But most scouts still believe his swing will play in the majors, and he had a productive offensive year at Double-A Harrisburg. I'd bet we'll see him in the majors late next year. That, or the Nationals recognize his solid swing could make him an attractive trade chip.
Carr and Kimball have both been impressive in the Arizona Fall League, and I wouldn't be surprised to see one or both of them in the majors at some point next year. The Nationals are hoping to add more power arms to their bullpen, and they've had success converting Tyler Clippard (and possibly Collin Balester) into a reliever. Kimball, especially, is intriguing, and if the Nationals can stash him, Clippard, Balester and Drew Storen in their bullpen, they'll have four pitchers who throw at least 93 mph and are capable or missing plenty of bats.
Now, for a couple names that didn't end up on the 40-man roster: Brad Meyers, the Nationals' 2009 organizational pitcher of the year, was left off after a foot injury limited him to six starts this year. Erik Arnesen and Hassan Pena, two pitchers who have had modest success in the Nationals' system, will also be eligible for the Rule 5 draft. And by the end of next season, the Nationals will have to put outfielder Michael Burgess and catcher Derek Norris on the 40-man roster. That's likely to happen, since both players are among the team's top prospects, but each one enters next season after playing in Arizona this fall, and will need to make a strong showing in 2011.
The Nationals did lose one player on Friday; pitcher Juan Jaime, a Dominican prospect who missed all of 2010 after having Tommy John surgery, was claimed off waivers by the Arizona Diamondbacks.