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40-man maintenance

Nov 18, 2010, 3:16 PM EST

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Matt Chico could get dropped from the 40-man roster to make room for younger prospects.

It's that time of the year when baseball clubs start adding and removing guys from their 40-man roster, doing some housekeeping work in advance of the Winter Meetings. If a player is going to be protected from the Rule 5 draft, he must be added to the 40-man roster by Saturday.

Which players are fair game to be plucked away by other organizations in the Rule 5 draft? Anyone who signed at age 19 or older and has spent three full seasons in the organization, and anyone who signed at age 18 or younger and has spent four full seasons in the organization. Essentially, this means any players who were drafted out of college in 2007 and any players who were drafted out of high school (or signed out of Latin American countries) in 2006.

In the Nationals' case, some of those players are already on the 40-man roster. Ross Detwiler and Jordan Zimmermann were each drafted out of college in 2007 but reached the majors quickly and thus were added to the 40-man long before they were required.

But there are plenty of other guys who have been in their farm system the last three or four years who have yet to reach the majors but are now eligible for the Rule 5 draft for the first time. I count 15 suchRead more »

  1. David Lint - Nov 18, 2010 at 3:28 PM

    If I had to guess as to who would be removed from the 40 man, I'd say these five are the most likely.Atilano – Replaceable arm that floats around majors every year.Chico – Looked solid in one start, never seen again.Mock – No more excusesThompson – Terrible year in AA. Getting old to still be a prospect.Nieves – It's time, but then again, it was time years ago.

  2. Mark - Nov 18, 2010 at 3:36 PM

    I don't see why we're still holding onto Wil Nieves.And after his disappointing September, would anyone bite on Maya and the $6M we owe him?

  3. Sue Dinem - Nov 18, 2010 at 3:50 PM

    Gibson is a free agent. There is also a chance that some of these names will be exposed to the AAA and AA portions of the Rule V draft, which are generally much less exciting.

  4. Pat - Nov 18, 2010 at 3:53 PM

    Is there a reason Strasburg is on the 40-man roster? He's from a recent draft, so he should be safe from the Rule V draft.

  5. NatsJack in Florida - Nov 18, 2010 at 3:59 PM

    Guys that should be protected would be Marrero, Mandel, and definitely Peacock. I'm not so sure about the others.I agree that Chico, Nieves, Atilano, Thompson, and Martin are all marginal players that could be exposed.

  6. Steve M. - Nov 18, 2010 at 4:04 PM

    David and Mark @ 10:36am both mention Nieves and I agree, easy decision to DFA and at the most give him a AAA invite. Then you read Goessling's column last week and he wants to give Nieves $800,000 gift wrapped in arbitration! What is Goessling thinking?http://www.masnsports.com/the_goessling_game/2010/11/playing-around-with-the-nationals-payroll.html

  7. Anonymous - Nov 18, 2010 at 4:07 PM

    Martin has been effective in the majors. He probably won't be dropped off of the 40-man. Its Chico, Atilano, (perhaps Mattheus? If they sign Brandon Webb isn't that the same type of pitcher but with a far better pedigree? Both are coming off of injuries.) Juan Jaime hasn't pitched an entire minor league season in a couple of years. I think there are lots of options.

  8. Pilchard - Nov 18, 2010 at 4:10 PM

    I believe that Strasburg and Harper signed MLB contracts so neither one can be dropped from the 40 man roster without being exposed to waivers. I think that Nats will drop at least 6 from the 40 man roster (fairly common for players to be dropped and resign with the same team as minor league player). My guess:- Chico- Mock – Martis – Wang- Nieves (absolute lock that he will be dropped)- Maxwell

  9. Anonymous - Nov 18, 2010 at 4:11 PM

    Thompson is a left handed starter … as is Chico. Its a choice between the two. I suspect they pick Thompson. With Solis coming up through they system plus Rosenbaum they may no longer need both.

  10. Anonymous - Nov 18, 2010 at 4:15 PM

    Can't they put Strasburg on the 60-day DL, thus keeping him off the 40-man roster but also not exposing him to waivers?

  11. Mark Zuckerman - Nov 18, 2010 at 4:18 PM

    Strasburg will go on the 60-day DL next spring. But there is no DL during the offseason, so everyone has to be included on the 40-man until then.

  12. JaneB - Nov 18, 2010 at 4:19 PM

    What makes me happy is that Mark will make sure we know what happens, AS it happens. That's part of the vuirtue of being an Insider.Yesterday was my birthday and I was hoping Mike Rizzo would buy me Adam Dunn for three years, but he didn't. Yet. Here's hoping no one else gets my gift.

  13. Anonymous - Nov 18, 2010 at 4:19 PM

    We need to get those spreadsheets at Natsfarm and update them … definitely a helpful visual tool.

  14. Steve M. - Nov 18, 2010 at 4:31 PM

    The 2 most obvious choices to me are Nieves and Maxwell.Not sure if Rizzo is ready to give up on his man-crushes on Maxwell or Mock or Matt Chico.The organization soured on Martis so I could see him as going too.They will have to add Marrero to the 40 man for sure and Meyers I would think.By the way, that is a lot of names starting with "M".I would hang on to Atilano if they can. The best news would be if Rizzo could trade a bunch of these guys and get something for them.

  15. Doc - Nov 18, 2010 at 4:37 PM

    Rizzo needs to wrap up a bunch of these guys in a trade–that would solve some of the 40 man roster stuff.

  16. Steve M. - Nov 18, 2010 at 4:39 PM

    JaneB, happy birthday! That Adam Dunn present hopefully will be belated!

  17. joemktg - Nov 18, 2010 at 4:41 PM

    Going deeper into the numbers: Brad Peacock struggled at Potomac during the first half of the year, but his second half was far better (we saw his complete game shutout at the Pfitz, and he looked great). And has MZ mentioned, he's done very well in the AFL. Fairly certain he's a goner if left unprotected, and at this point he's shown enough to warrant protection. So on the surface his numbers may look pedestrian, but peel away one layer of the onion, and you've got a case.

  18. Anonymous - Nov 18, 2010 at 4:44 PM

    It's actually four(19 and above) and five years(18 and below), not three and four. The change was made in the latest CBA.

  19. PAY TO PLAY - Nov 18, 2010 at 4:49 PM

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2010/11/chicago-rumors-zambrano-dunn-quentin.htmlHere's the deal with Dunn. Cubs aren't spending the money unless they move salaries. The White Sox can easily afford him if they don't get Konerko to sign, and their interest in Dunn could just be to move Konerko back to them. The Tigers are in the hunt but covet Victor Martinez as their 1st choice.I am hoping that Dunn gives JaneB her birthday present and takes a 3 year deal with the Nats with a 4th year option that is tied to his 3rd year production. Something that is fair to both sides.Does anyone know if Genske/Peters have met with Rizzo in Orlando?

  20. Steven Biel - Nov 18, 2010 at 4:56 PM

    Yeah, I think Marrero, Peacock and Meyers have to be protected. Nieves should be gone. Of the pitchers, Martis, Martin, Mock, and Slaten are all just filling space.

  21. David Lint - Nov 18, 2010 at 5:02 PM

    Slaten is a solid LOOGY… no need to dump him.

  22. Anonymous - Nov 18, 2010 at 5:03 PM

    Flores recent ankle injury in winter ball had to help Nieve's case some. The fact that Norris is so far behind defensively, which is more important than offense when it comes to the catching position, also must help some. After Pudge Ramos is probably the best defensive catcher. Norris will likely start the year in Harrisburg. Flores probably in Syracuse.

  23. Kenz aFan - Nov 18, 2010 at 5:10 PM

    — Adrian Alaniz had an outstanding year, but he'll turn 27 in March, and time might be running out on him. Do the Nats flip a coin with him?— Martin Beno has been stuck at Potomac for three years, he'll not be protected.— Shane Erb made it to Haggerstown this season, but he's not good enough to draw anyone's attention.— Dan Lyons is another player stuck in A ball and because he doesn't hit for average or have any power to speak of, he'll not be protected either.— Jeff Mandel is an OK minor league pitcher, but I seriously doubt anyone will want to take a chance with him at the Major League level.— Brad Meyers, while only getting six starts in 2010, was still outstanding, and to not protect him, would be a crime.— Justin Phillabaum is yet another Nats pitcher who's been stuck in A ball. He wont be considered for the 40-Man Roster.— Bill Rhinehart is an below average infielder/outfielder, and wont be protected.— Boomer Whiting has great speed, but he doesn't have the best getting on base skills and hits for a low average. I cant see anyone picking him up in the Rule-5 just to make him their 4th or 5th outfielder.— Glenn Gibson has not progress very well and is still pitching at the Class A level. No worries about needing to protect him.— Stephen King I don't think will prove to be good enough to be even a bench player. He cant hit, has no speed, and is a terrible fielder.— Chris Marrero, an above average, but not great bat and no defense to speak of, makes him an American League DH candidate, but would an AL team claim him if he was left unprotected? He couldn't be used as a defensive replacement, and most teams already have a DH, so I see no reason to protect him.— Brad Peacock, while he's pitching well in the AFL, he's been a steady, slightly above average minor league pitcher. I suspect, because of his AFL numbers, the Nats will consider adding him to the 40-Man Roster.— Jhonatan Solano has no speed, cant hit, doesn't get on base, and, at best, might end up being another Wil Nieves, one day earning a ML job as a backup catcher. The Nats wont protect him.— Josh Wilkie has done nothing but improve as he's made his way through the minors. A Starter in college, he's become a very solid and consistent reliever and should be protected.In the end, Brad Myers, Josh Wilkie, Brad Peacock and Adrian Alaniz, in that order, are the best candidates to be added to the 40-Man Roster. The rest, including Marrero, who I rank as the 5th most likely to be added, can be left off. As for Marrero, the only way I can imagine him being added to the 40-Man Roster, is if the Nats plan on trading him this winter. Giving him a 40-Man Roster spot over any of the four pitchers I named, would truly be a waste.

  24. Mark - Nov 18, 2010 at 5:26 PM

    Martis, Martin and Mock all have big league experience starting and if they can be traded that would be great.Martin shows at times he has big league stuff just not consistent.Maxwell and Nieves are easy choices and nobody in their right mind will claim them. I think Rizzo thinks more of Maxwell then Maxwell thinks of himself plus he is recovering from Tommy John.

  25. Pilchard - Nov 18, 2010 at 5:32 PM

    Kenz,Do not disagree with your logic, but as a practical matter, there is zero chance that the Nats do not protect Marrero. The Nats still consider him a top organziation prospect, and will not be willing to admit that they made an error on him. Also, 1st base is an area of weakness if Dunn leaves, which makes Marrero more valuable. Finally, teams are always reluctant to risk 1st round draft picks as they are always on every other team's radar and the team has made the largest investment in those players. We will never know the order of preference for the players added to the 40 man, but I would not be suprised to see all 5 (Meyers, Wilkie, Peacock, Alaniz and Marrero) added to the 40 as there are at least 5 expendable players that can be dropped.

  26. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Nov 18, 2010 at 5:50 PM

    I think Pilchard has correctly named the Pick 6. But I'd add Atilano and Thompson to the expendable list. That's eight. There are four to six more (Marrero, Stammen et al) that could easily be added. Finding players to cut on this roster is not the challenge. Finding ones who are keepers is the tougher part. Take a bow, Jeffrey Loria.

  27. sec3mysofa - Nov 18, 2010 at 6:05 PM

    Keep in mind the selecting team has to keep him on the 25-man roster all year.

  28. Anonymous - Nov 18, 2010 at 6:13 PM

    Mark Z. – Do you think Justin Maxwell will be on the 40 man?

  29. Anonymous - Nov 18, 2010 at 6:22 PM

    Just a quick question. How is service time figured? Is it by being on the 40 man roster or on the 25 man active roster? If I remember correctly Strasburg is on the DL but still accures service time. Has Matt Chico been accruing service time since he is on the 40 man?

  30. Anonymous - Nov 18, 2010 at 6:48 PM

    "I think Pilchard has correctly named the Pick 6. But I'd add Atilano and Thompson to the expendable list. "Chico is 27+ years old. Aaron Thompson is still only 23 and has not had Tommy Johns as has Chico and Atilano (albeit given the year he had it makes one wonder now doesn't it?). You protect and keep Thompson.

  31. Anonymous - Nov 18, 2010 at 6:48 PM

    Random thought. If Ryan Zimmerman was playing UVA baseball in February and starting at third base for the Nationals by September of that same year, why can't Harper play right field this year? He seems to be kicking the snot out of the AFL. I mean, what made Zimmerman a rush project?

  32. NatsJack in Florida - Nov 18, 2010 at 6:50 PM

    Hey Anonymous…. big difference between a 21 yo junior in college and a 17 yo junior in high school.

  33. Johnbb21 - Nov 18, 2010 at 6:56 PM

    Guys… Mark is wrong as I stated above. It is no longer 3 and 4 years, it's 4 and 5 years. The change was made in the latest CBA. Unless my math is off, the guys mark listed should be eligible after next season.

  34. Steve M. - Nov 18, 2010 at 7:04 PM

    Zimmerman signed quickly after being drafted and rose through the Minors and got a September callup and hit .397 and quickly proved he belonged.Crazier things have happened so we will have to see how Bryce Harper does in A ball and go from there. If he gets promoted to Harrisburg in AA by July then we may see him as a September callup as an 18 3/4 years of age.He really did perform better than expected in the AFL but still has a lot to learn. No reason to rush him IMO.

  35. Anonymous - Nov 18, 2010 at 7:13 PM

    Johnbb21, let's hope you are correct!

  36. Steve M. - Nov 18, 2010 at 7:31 PM

    Just in case you missed this article about Bryce Harper, I have to say I am excited about this kid.This quote says it all talking about playing his game like Pete Rose and George Brett. I think Bryce Harper will be able to teach many of the veterans what it means to play the game:"Since I was 7 years old, I'd try and take out the second baseman," Harper laughed. "Parents would get mad, but it's baseball. I always want to play my game like Pete Rose and George Brett and all the great guys who went hard every day. I think I have the old-school mentality when I play. I try to hustle every time."http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20101118&content_id=16141856&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb

  37. Anonymous - Nov 18, 2010 at 7:31 PM

    I believe that Maxwell is out of options, so the immediate question is, will he make the team out of spring training? I think the answer is no, at least I hope it is. So, it makes zero sense to not waive him now, clear up a spot on the 40-man, and then offer him a minor-league deal and an invite to spring training. The same goes for Nieves, especially with Nieves in his second arbitration round. I think they could do the same with Alberto Gonzales as well. He played very well defensively last year, but with no bat, and that's an area the Nats are clearly looking to improve on. It's doubtful anyone would sign Alberto, so drop him for now, give him a minor-league deal and invite, and re-evaluate the utility player situation in the spring.As to who to put on the 40-man, you only need to put on someone who has a good chance of not only being picked in the Rule 5, but will stick with the other team after the spring. Marrero is probably the only person who fits that bill. Now, you may want to protect additional players who may be drafted, but probably not kept on the other team. Why? Well, it's a shot to the ego and psyche to be left unprotected, drafted, then given back by the other team. Also, the player loses spring in the Nats' system.I think they'll add Marrero and 2-3 of the pitchers, probably no more and no less.

  38. pahou - Nov 18, 2010 at 7:43 PM

    those of you who want to protect Marrero must have never seen him play since A ball. There is no way any team would take Marrero in the rule 5 draft he is in no way ready for the big leagues. Thats what the 40 man roster at this point is all about

  39. JayB - Nov 18, 2010 at 7:44 PM

    I see at least 8 spots that could be opened up without any problemMaxwell, mock, Nieves, Martin, Chico, Wang, Atalono, Matheus, and Thompson….nobody would pick u any of them and they are highly unlikely to play a part in any winning team in Washington so what good are they?Really this is a very very week 40 man roster.

  40. PAY TO PLAY - Nov 18, 2010 at 7:54 PM

    Anon @ 2:31, I agree with you except for Alberto Gonzalez. The reason he isn't starting is because of his bat as he has a good glove but I think he was the star of a lousy bench and based on his versatility I think another team would grab him.What's laughable in this Ladson article from last week is how Willie Harris wants to come back.Good quotes here:The Nationals want more than just offensive production (.202 batting average this past season) and solid defense off the bench. They want reserves who will accept their roles. The source said too many of the Nats' reserves harped about playing time last season. http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20101112&content_id=16091870&vkey=news_was&c_id=was

  41. NatsJack in Florida - Nov 18, 2010 at 8:04 PM

    I'm hopeful our new scouting staff has a gem or two that they want us to pick up under the Rule 5 draft. The next 3 days should provide an insight into the overall approach to the off-season.

  42. BQ - Nov 18, 2010 at 8:39 PM

    Completely random thought, Is there a statistic on how a pitcher would fare against his own team?Didn't know who else to ask.And yeah, I am sure Nats management will figure out something that works in our favor about this 40 man roster situation.

  43. Anonymous - Nov 18, 2010 at 8:46 PM

    "People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring. " ~Rogers Hornsby

  44. 6thandD - Nov 18, 2010 at 8:56 PM

    Justin Maxwell is a sentimental favorite since he is a hometown boy – Sherwood High and then Maryland. I just wish he could place wood on the thrown baseball. He hasn't been able to complete that task. He couldn't hit water if he fell out of a boat.

  45. Kenz aFan - Nov 18, 2010 at 9:10 PM

    Johnbb21 is correct about the Rule 5 changes.Players are eligible for selection in the Rule 5 draft who are not on their major league organization's 40-man roster and:– were signed at age 19 or older and have been in the organization for four years; or– were signed at age 18 or younger and have been in the organization for five years.This means that Mark's list needs to be adjusted. That said, Brad Meyers, Josh Wilkie, Brad Peacock and Adrian Alaniz still need to be protected to not be eligible for the Rule 5 draft. Pilchard makes a good argument and Chris Marrero, because he's still only 22, would also have to be protected or be lost via the draft.The Nats are deeper than many think at 1B. Tyler Moore has developed into a power bat at first, and Justin Bloxom is also an up and comer at first base. They're a couple years away and in the meantime, the Nats can make do with a temp at 1B. I doubt it will ever be Marrero. Moore and Bloxom both play much better defense than Marrero, and unless they fall apart on the way up, they'll eventually pass him in the prospect rankings. Marrero has no position, he's much worse than Dunn in both the outfield and at first base. He's going to be a DH.

  46. Pilchard - Nov 18, 2010 at 9:11 PM

    FWIW, when player is dropped from the 40 man, they often stay with the organization. For example, at this time last year, Pete Orr was dropped from the 40 man, and then he signed a minor league deal with the Nats. Since no team is likely to place Maxwell on the 40 man roster, would not be at all surprised to see Maxwell resign with the Nats as a minor league FA.

  47. Kenz aFan - Nov 18, 2010 at 9:27 PM

    For what it's worth, I'd remove Garrett Mock, Ryan Mattheus, Wil Nieves and Justin Maxwell from the 40-Man Roster. As for Shairon Martis, because he's still only 23, I'd put Luis Atilano and Matt Chico ahead of him on any potential remove list.I also have a question: Why is Juan Jaime on the Nats 40-Man Roster?

  48. N. Cognito - Nov 18, 2010 at 10:29 PM

    Pilchard said… "Since no team is likely to place Maxwell on the 40 man roster, would not be at all surprised to see Maxwell resign with the Nats as a minor league FA."Or he might sign a minor league deal with another team. Either way, it's no loss. That goes with most of the names being mentioned in this thread.

  49. Anonymous - Nov 18, 2010 at 11:53 PM

    The 40 man is pretty sad and I think they got room, if these prospects really are worth it. Just speaking truth here but the Nationals the past few years seem content to fill up their roster with nobody's and has beens. And until otherwise, I think as fans we should expect more of the same (the FO is already backing off of 'big free agent spending talk'). I believe what sums up the Nats and the reasons they are not a middle of the pack team is Wil Nieves. Who? Yes, Wil Nieves. I hear he is a really nice guy and I hate to stomp on nice people. But to put it simply, he is perhaps one of the worst baseball players to stay in the majors for as long as he has been. And that is a compliment. If there was a bad baseball player hall of fame, I would vote Nieves on it for sure. To stay in the majors and be so awful says something about the player, but also the team. Nieves has a career .227/.273/.296 line. His career OPS+ is 53 (last year was a 49). His career WAR is -3. His offensive WAR is -2 and his defensive WAR is -1. He throws out 24% of all base runners running on him for his career. The pitchers pitch to a 4.55 ERA when he catches over his career. Clearly Nieves is no good as a bat, a glove, or a defender. And I am not sure he can handle a pitching staff all that well (what was that Rizzo quote last year about how he got 'better' at handling a staff because before he wasn't very good at it). His stats are below replacement level players for some time now. BUT he has been on the Nationals for 3 seasons now. And he even has a commercial. Wil Nieves, 40 man roster member, 3 year MLB contributor. Nationals microcosm.

  50. Anonymous - Nov 19, 2010 at 12:41 AM

    There's one off the 40-man:WASHINGTON — Nationals right-hander Juan Jaime was taken off the 40-man roster, according to a baseball source. He missed all of 2010 because of right elbow reconstruction. Jaime joined the Nationals in 2006 and has yet to play a Major League game.

  51. Anonymous - Nov 19, 2010 at 12:44 AM

    Here's another … from Ladson again …But a baseball source familiar with the Nationals' thinking believes Willingham will most likely be traded before the 2011 season starts. The source believes that Washington would want something for Willingham before he becomes a free agent after the 2011 season. Published reports already indicated that opposing teams have interest in Willingham's services.

  52. sec3,slotman - Nov 19, 2010 at 12:50 AM

    That's an interesting expression, "opposing teams"–what other kind is there?

  53. BinM - Nov 19, 2010 at 1:18 AM

    The current roster is at 38 of 40; (4CA, 4IF, 6OF, 15SP, 9RP = 38 players). The most likely cuts would include Nieves(CA), Maxwell(OF), Chico, Mock, JD Martin (all SP), and Mattheus(RP), reducing the roster to 32. Call-ups would then possibly include Bixler & Marrero(IF), Carr, Kimball, & Wilkie(all RP), running the 40-man total back up to 37; Still room to add players via trade / FA acquisition.

  54. Anonymous8 - Nov 19, 2010 at 1:39 AM

    Wil Nieves has a heart of gold. Personally, I will miss him but professionally adios amigo. Same goes for Justin Maxwell. But this is why the Nationals are a joke. They take players that couldn't make any other roster and there just doesn't seem to be a reason why Nieves wasn't replaced last year and the fact that they stuck with Maxwell as long as they did.People say Maxwell is a great athlete. Wonderful, but he isn't a good baseball player.This is the most frustrating thing to me as I follow this team.Also, I don't get the theory behind not signing Willingham long-term. If you do that, his value as trade bait increases or you keep him as he makes an above average LF when healthy.

  55. JayB - Nov 19, 2010 at 9:23 AM

    BinM is correct, there is no problem getting the 40 man down to 32 or even 30….just not an issue like it should be after 6 years in town. Still a very week 40 man product…..A8….it is all about money, they do not want to spend it even on a proven lower cost LF who would be easy to trade….it is looking like a year where the team takes a major step back in wins and payroll. If the do nothing but the same old Feb and March leftover signings they again will have the worst bench in baseball, the worst starting pitching in baseball and 60 wins tops.

  56. Jeeves - Nov 19, 2010 at 12:16 PM

    I don't get the negativity on Marrero. Granted his defense is not good, but he's only 22 and hit 294 with 18 home runs and 28 doubles at the AA level. He certainly shows more promise than most of our minor leaguers.

  57. sec3 - Nov 19, 2010 at 1:37 PM

    I guess that's part of the point, Jeeves: that's not saying much.In other news: Felix Hernandez!

  58. Todd Boss - Nov 19, 2010 at 2:03 PM

    I just published a post with a similar analysis to Zuckerman's work here, albeit with links and a bit more per-player analysis. http://www.nationalsarmrace.com/?p=363My conclusions; we protect Mandel, Marrero and Meyers. If Peacock or Wilkie needed protection clearly we have a few roster moves we could make further into the offseason but in my opinion we're probably safe gambling that nobody picks them up.

  59. Todd Boss - Nov 19, 2010 at 2:09 PM

    Coincidentally, not sure why the vitriol towards the organization over Nieves. The team tried to bridge the gap between Schneider and the eventuality of Flores or Norris by signing two FA catchers in Lo Duco and Estrada back in the 2007-08 off season. Neither worked out, both were clubhouse cancers and bad characters and both had to be released. So what do you do? We had no choice but to cycle through minor leaguer quality guys like Maldonado, Nieves, Burke, Josh Bard and even Luke Montz before finally just buying 2 years of Pudge's services. Catching is quirky; you can go from too much depth to suddenly not enough really quickly. And, as far as Nieves, it is clear to me he'll be non-tendered and perhaps offered a minor league contract to stay w/ the organization. But there's no hurry in dumping him off the 40-man now, especially since we like the guy and want to keep him in the fold. If we dumped him now, we'd be giving teams a head start on signing him to provide the same backup/catching depth he's been giving us.

  60. Mark Zuckerman - Nov 19, 2010 at 2:12 PM

    FYI: I checked with a Nats official and he confirmed that Marrero is Rule 5 eligible this year.There was a change in the wording of the rule, but it doesn't apply in this case. The way it now reads, all Rule 5 eligibility is based on the player's age on June 5 before he signed. If the player is 19 or older that day, he becomes Rule 5 eligible after four seasons (including that one). If the player is 18 or younger that day, he becomes Rule 5 eligible after five seasons (including that one).For the majority of guys, this means if you were a college player drafted in 2007, you're Rule 5 eligible this year. And if you were a high school player drafted in 2006, you're Rule 5 eligible this year.Thus, Marrero (who was 17 on June 5, 2006) needs to be protected this year or else risk getting taken away by another club.

  61. Tcostant - Nov 19, 2010 at 2:15 PM

    No one has really mentioned this, but their seems to be enough fat on the 40 man roster to get to 38 or 39 filled spots. Why do this? Because then you can take a player you like on another team though the Rule 5 draft, the 2011 team should have a space or two to carry such a player, if you really like the guy (this is how we got Flores).

  62. N. Cognito - Nov 19, 2010 at 3:30 PM

    Todd Boss said… "Coincidentally, not sure why the vitriol towards the organization over Nieves."Add the fact that there's usually at most one or two decent all-round catchers available as free agents each year. A lot of sub .300 OBP catchers on every year's free agent list.

  63. Big Cat - Nov 19, 2010 at 5:13 PM

    Where did it get out that Marerro was bad defensively? Boy, that ball gets rolling and its hard to stop

  64. Anonymous - Nov 19, 2010 at 10:50 PM

    Speaking of roster maintenance, the Yankees released ex-Nat Jonathan Albaladejo today (JA apparently signed with a team in Japan). Score one for Bowden – he didn't win many trades, but the Nationals certainly got the better of the Yankees by getting Tyler Clippard for Albaladejo. Of course, they dumped Bruney on the Nationals later, so payback is hell.John C.

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