March 28, 2009

New Look Nats Take Shape

The roster cuts are getting a little deeper now. This morning the team firmed up its starting 5, and made the obvious move to cut down a crowded outfield. With a tip 'o the cap to Nationals Journal:

1. The Wowin' Curacoan and J.Z. round out the rotation. Martis breaks with the big club, Zimmermann gets a taste of early spring in Syracuse.

Analysis: For better or worse Lannan, Olsen, Cabrera, Martis and Zimmermann were clearly the best five SPs this spring, so in that sense they all deserve their spots. Will we regret this when Shairon and Jordan hit free agency a year early? Maybe, but hell, in three years we could all be living underground riding out the fallout of international economic collapse and global thermonuclear war. Carpe diem!

2. WMP hits the waiver wire, destined for AAA or free agency. Either way, $2M is a lovely parting gift.

Analysis: Wily Mo's ticket was likely punched the day Josh Willingham arrived in D.C. Victimized by injuries that sapped his power and an almost comic inability to hit breaking pitches, we'll fondly remember WMP as a bright spot in the 2nd half of 2007. I hope he goes to AAA in an attempt to rebuild some value for next season.

3. Javier Valentin declined a bus ticket to scenic Syracuse, opting for free agency. It's the Snowman vs. the Bard for the chance to back up the fairly injury-prone Jesus Flores.

Analysis: Eh, whatever. It's the backup catcher. Wil's better with the glove, Josh Bard's better with the bat. Either one would be a better choice than Javier.

4. Collin Balester was not born in Syracuse, did not choose Syracuse, but rather had Syracuse thrust upon him.

Analysis: Collin is pretty much the sum total of the Nationals pitching depth. (I do not count Kip Wells, and neither should you.) We'll be seeing him again, either as a replacement for one of his fellow struggling youngsters or as the annual "Good grief, Daniel Cabrera sucks!" replacement starter.

5. Jose Castillo and Corey Patterson got booted to minor league camp.

Analysis: In Corey's case at least it was long overdue. With Bernadina, Maxwell and Langerhans at AAA, I'm not sure there's a place for Patterson even in the minors. Jose, as far as I can tell, has just never been any good.

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