Nationals Make The Right Roster Moves: 25 man roster set

Steve O Speak

The Washington Nationals have for all intents and purposes set their opening day roster. In doing so the Nationals faced a dilemma they had never faced since moving to D.C., making the tough roster decisions. In the past it was a struggle to find 25 players of major league talent in camp, this year the Nationals faced big decisions and had to use a lot of creativity to finalize their roster. Here’s how it ended up shaping up:


1. Ivan Rodriguez- starter, could be traded later in this season, or could get overtaken by Ramos

2. Wilson Ramos- backup, but will likely play at least 40% of the time, and potentially take over every day duties


3. Adam LaRoche, 1B- starter at 1st, has a partially torn rotator cuff, so it will be a developing situation. If he is healthy he will play just about every game.

4. Danny Espinosa, 2B- starter at 2nd, entering his rookie year and coming off the offseason hamate injury, the Nats could take it slow with Desmond giving him a few extra days off, but I’d still expect at least 145 starts.

5. Ian Desmond, SS- starter at short, Desmond looks prime to bat lead-off this season and potentially have a breakout sophomore campaign. He will probably look to start just about every game this season at SS.

6. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B- starter at third, Zim is the Nats best offensive and defensive player and the key to this team. Now that he is surrounded by actual Major League talent he will need to take his game (and hopefully the Nationals) to the next level.

7. Alex Cora, UTL- Cora won the backup infielder job. He was having a nice spring and offers plenty of experience. In the past a player like Cora would likely be a starter on the Nationals, this year he was the last guy to make the team.


8. Jayson Werth, RF- Werth with be the starter in RF, The Nationals big offseason splash will need a big year as Washington looks to make their march towards a .500 record.

9. Rick Ankiel, CF- Ankiel won the starting CF job. His range isn’t the greatest in CF, but passable. He does offer a big arm, and the potential for a decent season with the bat. He will likely sit against most lefties.

10. Michael Morse, LF- starter in LF. Followed up last season’s 2nd half surge, with a very good spring training. Has the potential to be a key player in the Nationals lineup going forward.

11. Jerry Hairston Jr., CF/UTL- Harrison will play CF against most left-handers. When he is not starting in CF, he will be the first guy off the bench for just about every other position.

12. Laynce Nix, OF- Nix is capable of backing up all 3 OF positions. Nix will likely get an occasional start or 2 in CF, but will primarily help out as a pinch hitter.

13. Matt Stairs, OF- Top pinch hitter off the bench. Stairs doesn’t offer much in way of defensive ability, but he can be a valuable pinch hitter. He also is known as a good clubhouse guy which can’t hurt.


14. Livan Hernandez, SP- Hernandez will get the start opening day and should hopefully give the Nationals a number of quality innings.

15. John Lannan, SP- Lannan is basically a veteran on this staff now, and while he’s not a true ‘number 2’, he has been pretty effective in the past.

16. Jordan Zimmermann, SP- Zimmermann has the best stuff and potential of this group. He has the ability to develop into a very good starter in this league, and seems ready to make that jump this season.

17. Jason Marquis, SP- Marquis was one of last year’s top free agent signings, but Washington never got a real look at what he could do as he missed most of the season with injury. He’s looked pretty good this year, and could be trade bait as the deadline approaches.

18. Tom Gorzelanny, SP- Gorzelanny was acquired from the Cubs this offseason via trade. While Gorzelanny is likely no more than a 4th or 5th starter, he is a pretty decent one when he is healthy. He offers a cheap, and relatively young 2nd lefty to the Nats rotation.


19. Drew Storen, RP- Storen will likely start the season as the team’s primary closer and with any luck he will firmly take on that role.

20. Sean Burnett, RP- Burnett has really begun to impress, and looks to be a valuable piece at the back of a major league bullpen. While getting lefties out is his primary goal, he handles righties fairly well too.

21. Tyler Clippard, RP- Clippard like Storen has struggled this Spring Training, but considering how successful he was last season, hopefully it was just a fluke. If he returns to form he is a valuable member at the back of the Nats pen.

22. Doug Slaten, RP- Slaten last year really looked strong down the stretch. He gives Washington a young, cheap and quality 2nd lefty out of the pen.

23. Todd Coffey, RP- Coffey is a decent veteran, and does have some late inning experience, but is probably the weakest link in this bullpen. Coffey is similar to Cora, as there would be times in the past where he’d be considered a key component to their bullpen, but now he more like the last piece of the puzzle.

24. Chad Gaudin, RP- Gaudin came in as a minor league free agent and pitched his way on to this team. He offers value as a long reliever and a swing starter.

25. Brian Broderick, RP- Broderick was the Nats 2nd rule 5 pick, but ended up really impressing them and making the team. Broderick pitched more innings this spring than any other pitcher, outside of the 5 starters, which shows just how highly the Nats think of him. He was a former starter in the minors, so he could pitch multiple innings at a time if necessary.

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