Nats may not have many spots up for grabs this spring

vargas swing @ STL gray

The Nationals roster, as currently constructed, is by no means loaded. It’s littered with inexperienced players, plus a handful of experienced ones trying to bounce back from recent struggles. It’s exactly what you’d expect the roster of a team that lost 107 games last year to look like.

Except in one peculiar way: Nearly every position on this roster seems to already be locked up, which could make for a strange spring training.

Most 100-loss teams come to camp with a host of spots up for grabs. There’s always going to be a competition for one or two rotation jobs, at least a few places in the lineup and most definitely a bunch of bench and relief positions.

But look at the Nationals right now, and you’ll quickly realize there isn’t that much that still needs to be decided.

Eight of the nine everyday players are probably set in stone already: Catcher Keibert Ruiz, newly signed first baseman Dominic Smith, the young middle infield combo of Luis García and CJ Abrams, new third baseman Jeimer Candelario, outfielders Lane Thomas and Victor Robles, plus Joey Meneses (whether he winds up in left field or as designated hitter).

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Turner cleared to play, nine veterans placed on IL

Turner cleared to play, nine veterans placed on IL
The Nationals have unveiled their opening day roster, and as expected, it's missing a whole lot of prominent veterans. Though not Trea Turner. The club's 26-man roster does not include Josh Bell, Kyle Schwarber, Josh Harrison, Yan Gomes, Alex Avila, Patrick Corbin, Jon Lester, Brad Hand or Jordy Mercer. All were officially placed on the injured list, with no reason or timeline given. Only four of them actually tested positive for COVID-19; the others were deemed close contacts either by Major...
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What's next for Nats after cuts and what Kieboom has to do

What's next for Nats after cuts and what Kieboom has to do
The Nationals livened up an otherwise sleepy off-day on Saturday with a swath of roster trimming that pretty much cements the 26-man roster heading into Thursday's opener. But that doesn't mean general manager Mike Rizzo's work at putting together the best possible team is over. As other major league clubs make their cuts to get down to the 26-man roster limit, Rizzo will be closely perusing the waiver wire and checking out players who have been released. Simply put, another club in a roster...
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Kieboom, García headed to Triple-A after latest Nationals cuts

Kieboom, García headed to Triple-A after latest Nationals cuts
Infielders Carter Kieboom and Luis García were optioned to Triple-A Rochester on Saturday afternoon, as the Nationals made a series of roster moves that pretty much solidify their 26-man roster for Thursday's nationally televised home and season opener against the Mets. Also optioned to Triple-A were left-hander Sam Clay, right-hander Kyle McGowin and outfielder Yadiel Hernández. Utility men Jordy Mercer and Hernán Pérez, both of whom were in camp on minor league deals, had their...
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With nine days to go, another crack at a 26-man roster

With nine days to go, another crack at a 26-man roster
We have reached the stretch run of the spring. Yes, as of this morning, the Nationals have completed 31 days of camp. Only nine remain before everyone packs up shop in West Palm Beach, Fla., and heads north. There's still a lot that can and will change between now and then. And there are plenty of questions that still must be resolved. But the shape of the opening night roster seems to be taking more shape now. With the important caveat that several of these spots are far from locked up,...
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Protocols to begin 2021 season are similar to 2020 precautions

Protocols to begin 2021 season are similar to 2020 precautions
Major League Baseball formally announced its health and safety protocols Tuesday. And if you haven't heard yet, the 2021 season is going to look a lot like the 2020 season. At least at the outset. With the pandemic still consuming the nation and vaccinations still not available to most Americans yet, baseball had little choice but to reinstate many of the procedures that were necessary last season. This time, though, they're going to have to hold up through a full spring training, 162-game...
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Nats' 2019 roster could be a distant memory come 2021

Nats' 2019 roster could be a distant memory come 2021
Nothing lasts forever in baseball. Change is inevitable. No roster, good or bad, stays intact from year to year. So this isn't unusual. But it's still somewhat striking when you pause to think about it: More than half of the Nationals' 2019 World Series roster isn't going to be part of their 2021 roster. At the moment, only 11 of the 25 players who were in uniform for Game 7 in Houston a mere 13 1/2 months ago remain employed by the Nationals. Only four of those 11 are position players:...
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Taking a crack at a 30-man opening day roster

Taking a crack at a 30-man opening day roster
It's hard to believe the Nationals open the 2020 season in 11 days, but here we are. Barring a calamitous event - and, unfortunately, calamity must remain within the realm of possibility - Max Scherzer and company are going to take the field shortly after 7 p.m. on July 23 to face the Yankees and kick off this unprecedented baseball season. And there's a whole lot the Nats still need to figure out between now and then. Like who's going to make the opening night roster. Keep in mind, all...
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Zimmerman and Ross opting out of 2020 season (updated)

Zimmerman and Ross opting out of 2020 season (updated)
Ryan Zimmerman, the only person to play in a major league game for the Nationals during each of their 15 seasons in town, will not play for the club during its 16th season. Zimmerman and right-hander Joe Ross have opted out of the abbreviated 2020 campaign, uncomfortable with the health risks posed to players and staffers during this unprecedented attempt to play through a global pandemic. "Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross have decided not to participate in the 2020 season for the personal health...
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Thoughts on the Nats' preliminary 60-man roster

Thoughts on the Nats' preliminary 60-man roster
If you've followed baseball closely over the years, you should have a basic understanding of a franchise's various rosters and how they differ. There's the 25-man roster, of course, the group of players actively in the major leagues at any given moment. Then there's the 40-man roster, which in addition to the 25 active big leaguers includes players on the short-term injured list (10-day IL) and the group of top-tier minor leaguers who are most likely to be promoted at some point. Players...
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Nats could go many different ways with 26th roster spot

Nats could go many different ways with 26th roster spot
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The most significant of Major League Baseball's rule changes for the upcoming season is the three-batter minimum that will now be required for every reliever that enters a game. (With an exception granted for anyone who finishes an inning, even if it's only one batter.) Less discussed but not necessarily less significant is the addition of a 26th man to the active roster. For as far back as any of us can remember, a baseball roster consisted of 25 players. "We're...
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Nats make two bullpen changes for World Series

Nats make two bullpen changes for World Series
HOUSTON - The Nationals made some tweaks to the fringes of their roster for the World Series, but as we've seen throughout this extended postseason run to date, the National League champs fully intend to stick with the core group of big-name pitchers and lineup regulars in search of their first title. The Nats added two new relievers for the Fall Classic in Joe Ross and Wander Suero, dropping Austin Voth and Roenis Elías from their NL Championship Series bullpen. The addition of Ross is a...
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Suero, Voth added to Nationals bullpen for NLDS

Suero, Voth added to Nationals bullpen for NLDS
LOS ANGELES - With a best-of-five National League Division Series to consider now instead of a winner-take-all wild card game, the Nationals knew they were going to need to make some roster adjustments. Those adjustments, it turns out, come in the form of two extra pitchers added to their bullpen to face the Dodgers: Wander Suero and Austin Voth. After carrying only nine pitchers for Tuesday's wild card win over the Brewers - they actually used only three of them - the Nationals will now have...
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Nats have decisions to make before finalizing wild card roster

Nats have decisions to make before finalizing wild card roster
For the last month, the Nationals have been playing with an expanded roster, 36 players in total, which has allowed Davey Martinez to never run out of bats off his bench or arms in his bullpen. It's the luxury of September baseball - at least until next fall, when rosters will be reduced to 28 - but it's not allowed come October. Which means Martinez and the Nationals now must pare those 36 active players into a 25-man roster for Tuesday's National League wild card game. It's not as simple...
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Doolittle and Zimmerman return, but in lesser roles for now

Doolittle and Zimmerman return, but in lesser roles for now
The first wave of September call-ups for the Nationals includes four players returning from injury, three position players to provide some bench depth and zero traditional relievers. The Nats added seven players to the active roster before today's series finale against Marlins, activating Sean Doolittle, Ryan Zimmerman, Jeremy Hellickson and Austin Voth off the injured list and recalling infielder Adrián Sanchez and outfielder Andrew Stevenson from Double-A Harrisburg, plus catcher Raudy...
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Opening day roster announced, Noll makes club

Opening day roster announced, Noll makes club
The Nationals reported for spring training last month with a pretty good idea already who would fill out their 25-man roster. There were only a handful of jobs up for grabs, and even those seemed fairly set in stone, barring something unexpected developing over the course of six weeks in Florida. Well, something unexpected did happen. His name is Jake Noll, and thanks to one of the most unexpected spring training performances in recent club history the 25-year-old infielder is about to make his...
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Williams and Sanchez optioned, Noll still on roster

Williams and Sanchez optioned, Noll still on roster
The Nationals optioned reliever Austen Williams and infielder Adrián Sanchez to Triple-A Fresno this morning, all but finalizing their opening day roster with only one final question left to answer: Has non-roster invitee Jake Noll made the club, or is there another outside acquisition pending to fill the last spot on the bench? The Williams and Sanchez moves leave the Nationals with 28 players officially on their spring training roster. Included on that roster, however, are three players...
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Flurry of cuts bring Nats to brink of final roster decisions

Flurry of cuts bring Nats to brink of final roster decisions
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Nationals pared their roster down to 30 following today's 4-4 exhibition tie against the Cardinals, leaving only a handful of candidates still competing for the final spots in their opening day bullpen and bench. Right-hander Joe Ross was optioned to Triple-A Fresno, where he'll be stretched out as a starter. Fellow starter Erick Fedde and catcher Spencer Kieboom also were optioned, though they will open the season at Double-A Harrisburg because the organization...
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Relievers Hoover, Cordero among today's roster cuts

Relievers Hoover, Cordero among today's roster cuts
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Nationals made another round of cuts following today's split-squad games, trimming their camp roster by six. Optioned to Triple-A Fresno were right-handers Austin Voth, Jimmy Cordero, Kyle McGowin and Tanner Rainey. Re-assigned to minor league camp were right-hander J.J. Hoover and outfielder Hunter Jones. The moves bring more clarity to the few remaining competitions for spots on the opening roster (in the bullpen and on the bench) as the Nationals enter the final...
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Projecting the 25-man roster with two weeks to go

Projecting the 25-man roster with two weeks to go
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - We are, believe it or not, only two weeks away from opening day. Yes, a mere 14 days from now Max Scherzer will be taking the mound at Nationals Park to face Jacob deGrom and the Mets in the opener not only of a potentially dramatic season but of a potentially dramatic first two weeks to the season. The Nationals play their first 11 games against the Mets and Phillies, two division rivals who made big moves this winter and spring to try to improve, one of those moves of...
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