The big news of the day, of course, is Juan Soto and Josh Bell being dealt to the Padres in exchange for six players, including five top prospects. But the Nationals had to make other roster moves to both make room for incoming players and fill an active 26-man roster for tonight’s game against the Mets.
The flurry of moves:
* Selected the contract of first baseman Joey Meneses from Triple-A Rochester
* Recalled outfielder Josh Palacios from Rochester
* Transferred left-hander Evan Lee to the 60-day injured list
* Designated left-hander Josh Rogers for assignment
* Optioned shortstop C.J. Abrams to Triple-A Rochester
Abrams, one of the top prospects coming to the Nationals organization in today’s trade, was the both the Padres’ No. 1 prospect and the No. 9 prospect in all of baseball entering this season, according to both Baseball America and MLBPipeline.com.
He made San Diego’s opening day roster and his major league debut this season, starting the second game of the season at shortstop. He hit .232 with five doubles, two home runs, 11 RBIs, four walks, one stolen base and 16 runs scored in 45 games across two major league stints with the Padres.
Abrams will start his Nationals career at Rochester, getting acclimated with the organization for a couple of weeks before getting the call back up to the major league roster.
Meneses and Palacios were both already in the Nationals clubhouse this afternoon with reports saying the Soto/Bell deal was done although not officially announced yet. The Nationals brought them to D.C. in case they were needed to fill a roster spot and perhaps play tonight. They are.
The 30-year-old Meneses leads the Nats’ minor league system with 20 home runs, 64 RBIs, 107 hits and 183 total bases. Among Nationals minor leaguers, he also ranks second in slugging percentage (.489) and OPS (.830), third in batting average (.286), and tied for third in extra-base hits (35).
Meneses has spent his entire 10-year professional career in the minor leagues. He has a career slash line of .281/.338/.431 with 174 doubles, 25 triples, 87 home runs, 439 RBIs, 272 walks, 10 stolen bases and 381 runs scored in 894 games. A native of Culiacan, Mexico, he was originally signed by the Braves as a non-drafted free agent on May 9, 2011.
“First of all, this is a dream come true,” Meneses said of his first big league call-up, via interpreter Octavio Martinez. “It's something that I dreamed about, obviously, growing up as a little kid. I've never gotten the opportunity, basically, and I want to thank the organization and everyone involved that gave me the opportunity to be up here. I'm very grateful.”
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound first baseman also has experience playing the corner outfield positions. He has a right-handed swing that he thinks can immediately translate to the majors.
“I know it's hard to translate,” he said. “But in all of the years that I've played in the minor leagues coming up, I've been very consistent with my offense at the plate. And I think that's the reason why I'm here, and hopefully that continues up here.”
Palacios hit .299 with 11 doubles, two triples, seven home runs, 44 RBIs, 30 walks, 18 stolen bases and 39 runs scored in 72 games with Rochester. Among Nationals farmhands, he ranks second in on-base percentage (.378) and batting average (.299), fifth in OPS (.815), seventh in stolen bases (18), eighth in slugging (.437), and ninth in RBIs (44).
The 27-year-old made his major league debut in 2021, appearing in 13 games with the Blue Jays. He went 7-for-35 (.200) with four RBIs, three walks and seven runs scored. The Nats acquired Palacios off waivers from the Blue Jays on April 15 after he spent six seasons in their organization. He was a fourth-round selection in the 2016 MLB Draft out of Auburn University.
Lee, who moves to the 60-day IL, was placed on the 15-day injured list with a left flexor strain on June 18. The left-hander probably wasn’t the first pitching prospect expected to make his major league debut this year, but he was called upon to make a spot start on June 1 against the Mets in New York.
The 25-year-old flashed impressive stuff at times, going 0–1 with a 4.15 ERA in four appearances (one start) with the Nationals.
Rogers landed on the 15-day IL with a left shoulder impingement on June 3 after going 2–2 with a 5.13 ERA over 16 appearances (three starts) with the Nats this year. The 28-year-old lefty began his rehab assignment on June 25 at the Rookie-level Florida Complex League with the intention of stretching him back out as a starter, or at least a long-relief bullpen arm.
But he has struggled in his five starts between Double-A Harrisburg and Rochester, pitching to a 10.38 ERA and 1.8462 WHIP over 21 ⅔ innings.
The Nats signed Rogers to a minor league contract on June 4, 2021 after he was released by the Orioles.