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Chico, Bisenius, Martis re-assigned

Mar 4, 2011, 2:53 PM EDT

The Nationals made their first cuts of spring training this morning, re-assigning left-hander Matt Chico and right-handers Joe Bisenius and Shairon Martis to minor-league camp.

All three pitchers had been removed from the 40-man roster during the offseason, and though they were invited to big-league camp, none had a realistic shot of heading north with the club and none got much of a chance to make a statement this spring.

Chico and Martis each appeared in one Grapefruit League game, each tossing one inning of relief. Bisenius never got into a game before getting sent down.

Friday’s moves leave the Nationals’ roster at 58. Another round of cuts is expected within a few days, with top prospect Bryce Harper possibly among the casualties.

  1. Anonymous - Mar 4, 2011 at 3:35 PM

    I hear there is a pitcher in camp who is impressing both the Nats and scouts ofother teams. Is it Broderick?

  2. Tcostant - Mar 4, 2011 at 3:54 PM

    Anony at 10:35am -That pitcher is likely flamethrower Cole Kimball. Just an educated guess.

  3. Steve M. - Mar 4, 2011 at 3:54 PM

    That sure is a quick trigger as Mock is still there and a few others that haven't shined.

  4. Positively Half St. - Mar 4, 2011 at 3:55 PM

    When a pitcher is taken off the 40-man roster, and nobody wants to claim him, he must feel pretty sure that he is not going ot have much of a chance in Spring Training. Must be a bummer not to get a single inning in, though.

  5. Anonymous - Mar 4, 2011 at 4:06 PM

    How has this affected morale in the clubhouse?

  6. Anonymous - Mar 4, 2011 at 4:11 PM

    This is a very telling series of moves. Here we have two pitchers, Chico and Martis, who were Nationals starters a couple of seasons ago. Now they do not make the quality cut to last more than one week of spring training games.Just one more indicator that the team is getting better in every area of the game.

  7. Anonymous - Mar 4, 2011 at 4:19 PM

    Detailed.

  8. Anonymous - Mar 4, 2011 at 4:21 PM

    Detwiler.

  9. Les in NC - Mar 4, 2011 at 4:32 PM

    I don't think Mark can give an eval of how the clubhouse has been affected since he is several states north of it…

  10. PAY TO PLAY - Mar 4, 2011 at 4:34 PM

    Here is what ticks me off if I am #8 on the depth chart of starters is that I see how things are run with Rizzo that if I shine I still don't have a chance because it appears that he plays favorites as in Mock and others. It has to be demoralizing. There were some AAA guys that maybe deserved a September callup and it never came. The guy who kept getting his callups was Justin Maxwell. What does that say to the guy busting his hump in AAA?If Mock was sent down with Chico and Martis I say to myself, well you had your shot and blew it so you will have to work back through AA or AAA and shine, BUT Mock is still there. Just doesn't seem fair….I know life isn't fair.

  11. Doc - Mar 4, 2011 at 4:37 PM

    What say you Mark? Who is the mystery pitcher? Either Detweiler or Kimball could fit the bill. Then there's RHPs Ramirez and Rodridguez

  12. sjm 308 - Mar 4, 2011 at 4:38 PM

    First three cuts and I agree with anon 11:11. All 3 of these guys have major league experience and it says a lot about our depth. Not sure why anyone would worry about the morale on these first cuts. I am sure all 3 are good guys but none of them were being counted on. I will be interested in seeing just how strong and deep our rotations will be in Syracuse and AA as well. I think we have the deepest pitching in our brief history. Is it one of the best staffs in the majors? of course not, but it certainly is better than years past.Back to morale, not sure with 60 athletes in the same locker room that there is a lot of team building going on at this time. When it gets down to 40 there might be some disappointments among teammates as cuts are made, but all these guys realize what the deal is here.

  13. Anonymous - Mar 4, 2011 at 4:45 PM

    "Back to morale, not sure with 60 athletes in the same locker room that there is a lot of team building going on at this time."Probably a lot of spraying of air freshener though.

  14. Souldrummer - Mar 4, 2011 at 4:46 PM

    @PaytoplayOnce Martis and Chico got DFAed, I think they had to know where there status was in camp. Chico's been on the outside looking in for quite a while. He didn't get a whiff of DC after that one start against Josh Johnson last year. Martis got a chance yesterday but didn't look too good. He'd have to really impress to justify staying in MLB camp since there are so many others that Rizzo has seen.Ultimately, some of this is about stuff and scouts' opinions about whether these guys have enough stuff to justify waiting until they can produce. Mock has it (for now) and will get chances, but probably not too many more chances in big league camp. Chico and Martis don't so they have to start from ground zero and work there way up with dominant AAA performance if they want to get back.Bisenius looked intriguing for a little bit last year during his call up. Perhaps he felt some gratitude to the organization in deciding to re-sign with us. But there's so many other guys without options with better stuff that he's going to have to make it from Syracuse as well. I'm as interested to see what will happen with Syracuse's staff as I am with DC's staff personally.

  15. HHover - Mar 4, 2011 at 5:03 PM

    Pay to Play – I don't see the need for a lot of angst about this. Chico, Bisenius, and Mock are all marginal players, and they're all going to get cut. Arguments about who's more marginal, and who gets cut first, don't really seem worth the keystrokes.

  16. NatinBeantown - Mar 4, 2011 at 5:08 PM

    Pay to Play, I disagree with the notion (which many hold) that guys like Mock and Maxwell are "favorites" over guys working hard in MiLB. I don't disagree that they get preferential treatment, but it's because their raw tools demand the extra chances to cash in that potential. Guys like JD Martin and Matt Chico have a ceiling to their effectiveness. They work hard and can stitch together respectable starts in the majors, but they just don't have major league talent to help a Nationals club with any chance of a winning season (though I respect them for busting their butts for some terrible Nats clubs in 07-09). They are the definition of AAAA: fine as fill-ins, but not legitimate MLB regulars.Guys like Maxwell and Mock have the talent to thrive at the big league level if they could just figure out one or two things. That's why they get chance after chance to "figure it out" until they're just too old to have "potential" anymore. If guys like them find the switch and get it figured out, it's like found money for the club. With the other guys, you already know what you have.

  17. Farid - Mar 4, 2011 at 5:42 PM

    NatinBeantown:Excellent point. Great young pitchers sometimes get shelled and it doesn't change their long-term upside. Jordan Zimmermann could have an ERA over 15.00 this spring and he's still be going north with the club.But Matt Chico–a personal favorite of mine–could have an ERA of 0.50 all spring and never go north with the team. Martis doesn't throw strikes and never will. He has a 91 mph fastball. He has problems because his stuff isn't that great. Mock gets shelled even though he has a 95 mph fastball, because he doesn't trust his stuff.One day, if he ever does trust it, he'll be great. When I was VERY young, Sandy Koufax was a very bad major league pitcher. Then one day, he started to trust his stuff, throw strikes, and became a Hall of Fame pitcher.It's about potential, not spring training production.

  18. A DC Wonk - Mar 4, 2011 at 5:48 PM

    NatinBeantown — your post should be required reading for some of the complainers we have here.Well put!

  19. sjm 308 - Mar 4, 2011 at 5:52 PM

    I also agree that this is not about Rizzo and "favorites" but about scouting and potential talent. We all wanted Maxwell to produce because just looking at him run and throw and ocassionaly hit gave us the dream that he was a local boy who could make good. He kept getting an opportunity because there was real talent but obviously, it takes more then that at the major league level. Mock is someone that lots of teams would take a gamble on but both Chico(who I also like) and Martis both cleared waivers earlier without anyone taking that chance. One other comment to Pay to pay, when did Chico shine this spring? He was not in our top 10 starters on the depth chart and his quotes let you understand that he knew exactly what he would have to do. He needs to go to Syracuse and "throw innings" in his own words. He still has a chance and I am hoping for the best but this was not at all about favorites.

  20. SacTown - Mar 4, 2011 at 5:57 PM

    I'm still surprised that Chico came back. He got sent all the way back to AA last. He was seen as being behind at least 10 other pitchers. I believe the only reason he got the spot start last year was because a) his day lined up and b) he was on the 40-man and the AAA pitcher wasn't. He should have gone someplace where he knew at worst that he'd be in AAA, and had the chance to show that at worst, he should have been the 1st or 2nd call up in case of injury. His best hope with the Nats is that 6 pitchers get injured or that he gets traded to a pitching desperate team for a bucket of balls. I hope he's given real thought to firing his agent. He should have either gotten the same crappy contract from a team where he had a chance to get back to the show or have gone to Japan (though perhaps there's a no Chicos allowed rule over there).

  21. Steve M. - Mar 4, 2011 at 6:03 PM

    Farid and others, its a great conversation and pitchers and hitters have that mind over matter thing going on all the time. Still love the Yogi Berra quote as baseball is 90% mental, the other half is physical.Okay Yogi wasn't great with math but this is why Justin Maxwell and Garrett Mock won't succeed and so many don't live up to their potential as it is a mind game.I think Mock needs a mental strength coach in all seriousness because if he has this great stuff then the only thing in his way is his mind with focus, confidence, and commitment. Kevin Long who I think is the best batting coach in baseball now has Justin Maxwell and if he can't fix him I doubt he will get many 2nd chances in the Bronx so luckily Justin Maxwell is now someone elses problem.

  22. Harper_ROY_2012 - Mar 4, 2011 at 6:25 PM

    Every GM has "favorites" it is usually guys he scouted and/or drafted….for Rizzo, Mock and Chico fall in that category whih is why he traded Livan for them in the 1st place. While Chico started 30 games for us he did it on a wing and a prayer, while Mock has the physical talent he needs a sports psychologist so that he can visual his success instead of nibbling around the plate when he feels pressured. The fact that he has a great curveball is why he is still in camp for now and Chico who is not the samepitcher he was years ago is gone away to minor league camp.

  23. PAY TO PLAY - Mar 4, 2011 at 6:37 PM

    Hey, don't MOCK me. All good points made but it wasn't really my point. I don't care about Martis and Chico getting cut, just wondering why Mock wasn't in the group. I really am not upset about the cuts just who wasn't cut. It is that definition of insanity of doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result. Mock's outing yesterday was the worse so far in the Spring.If Mock was part of the cuts, I would say yes, they all deserved to go and probably Stammen too. This team finally looks like a Major League team and not this AAA hybrid so time to get serious.Maybe I am wrong on Mock but I don't see great stuff as a 95 MPH fastball that can't be located and lacks movement is not "great stuff" and a "great curveball" as Harper_ROY_2012 describes it that doesn't induce strike really doesn't matter much. Come on, SHOW ME, don't tell me.

  24. gino - Mar 4, 2011 at 11:39 PM

    oh, you said mock was a bad PITCHER! i thought you said he had a bad PICTURE!oh, wait… both right

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