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Game canceled, cuts happening

Mar 28, 2011, 5:23 PM EDT

VIERA, Fla. — First, some weather news: Tonight’s game against the Braves in Lake Buena Vista has been canceled due to rain. Honestly, there aren’t a whole lot of disappointed people here in Viera. Nobody wanted to drive an hour to Disney, then sit around through a rain delay, then return to Viera for tomorrow’s 12:05 p.m. exhibition finale.

Meanwhile, the Nationals have begun the final trimming of their roster down to the 25 who will suit up for Thursday’s opener.

Left-hander Ross Detwiler has been optioned to Class AAA Syracuse, and infielder Brian Bixler has been re-assigned to minor-league camp. Neither move is a surprise, and Detwiler spoke yesterday after starting against the Marlins as though he knew he was about to get sent down.

Those two moves reduce the roster to 31. Chien-Ming Wang, Henry Rodriguez and Elvin Ramirez are almost certainly headed to the DL, so that drops it down to 28.

So, basically there are four jobs still up for grabs, with seven players in the mix:

– The final reliever: Brian Broderick or Collin Balester.

– Backup infielder: Alex Cora or Alberto Gonzalez

– Two backup outfielders: Matt Stairs, Laynce Nix and Roger Bernadina.

Should find out more shortly, so check back.

  1. MGG - Mar 28, 2011 at 5:28 PM

    Of those players I would take the following:Reliever – Collin BalesterInfield – neither?Outfield – Bernadina and Nix

  2. TimDz - Mar 28, 2011 at 5:36 PM

    I think this comes down to issues of rule five versus option years in the case of in case of Broderick versus Balester. Broderick has pitched too well to offer him back to the Cardinals, and they would ask too much in a trade. If Gonzales cannot be traded (there apparently a few teams interested in him), I think he gets DFA'd, giving the position to Cora.As for the outfielders, that is a toss up. Bernadina has played well, but has an option left. He may go down just to see if either Nix or Stairs has anything left. If not, that person gets DFA's/released and Bernie gets recalled from AAA.

  3. A DC Wonk - Mar 28, 2011 at 5:37 PM

    Why would anyone keep Coffey at the risk of losing Broderick? Or, does Ballestar simply get kicked down b/c he's got an option?

  4. Steve M. - Mar 28, 2011 at 5:37 PM

    The Nats end up with their 1st winning Grapefruit record which is nice to see and hopefully is what we all see in the regular season too!I think Roger Bernadina changed any minds that questioned his ability with that highlight reel catch in LF a few days ago to remind everyone why he needs to be here. The only reason anyone questioned it was based on the article written about "inside" sources saying Bernadina was going to AAA. If LaRoche can't play then Bernadina starts in LF and Morse goes to 1st base so that furthers the need for him to be on the 25 man.Nix or Stairs is left to the flip of the coin.Broderick over Balester due to Balester has options and Broderick is Rule 5.Alberto Gonzalez stays if he doesn't get traded because the Nats actually need another RH bat.

  5. sjm308 - Mar 28, 2011 at 5:37 PM

    I also pick Balester but the option thing probably means Broderick will stayI like Gonzalez over Cora as long as he is comfortable in his role of utility player (I like his late inning defense)I like Bernadina although it makes sense to if he is going to play CF later in the season to get him innings in Syracuse at that position rather than sitting on the bench.I pick Nix over Stairs but I do hope he stays in our system because I think he is a positive addition to the organization.Go Nats!!

  6. Doc - Mar 28, 2011 at 5:38 PM

    @MGG,1:28: Me too! I want to see BallyStar on the 25 man roster. Bernaina and Nix seem to have most to offer.Based on pure skills, probably Gonzo over Cora. Not sure it makes a big difference. Cora may be the better bunter.

  7. Grant - Mar 28, 2011 at 5:43 PM

    Everyone knows what this means, right!? Nats are guaranteed a winning Spring Training record for the first time since coming to Washington!

  8. JD - Mar 28, 2011 at 5:43 PM

    IMO, Broderick – you can't just lose him for nothing; Balestaer will make it back up soon enough as will Detwiler and Maya. Cora – he is the prototypical backup infielder who does many things well and understands his role; Gonzalez is a better hitter and also does many things well but I think he thinks he should play every day; he is not good enough to do that so make the best deal for him and wish him well. Bernadina & Stairs – to me Nix isn't special and not really better than anyone we can bring up; Stairs will win 3 – 4 games but going deep in game situations if he's used properly by Riggs. Bernadina can spell Morse, Werth etc and also come in for defense for Morse; a useful 4th outfielder who will also get an occasional big hit; not an every day player.

  9. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 28, 2011 at 5:51 PM

    JD…. we agree except that I have no preference between Stairs and Nix (unless I can get Stairs to hang with me at the Tune Inn during one of my visits).

  10. Sam - Mar 28, 2011 at 5:51 PM

    It's sad that baseball is a business at the end of the day. If management chose the 25 best players, there's no way Coffey would have made it over Balester.

  11. JayB - Mar 28, 2011 at 5:54 PM

    This is all about options and and clubhouse makeup…..Alberto is traded, Roger and Ballistar have options left…no real suspense here….Team in August will be completely different than opening day….for now Rizzo whats vets with make up…..Like I said the days of learning in Bigs are gone….prove it for a full AAA season and then get your opportunity…..

  12. phil dunn - Mar 28, 2011 at 5:56 PM

    By the way, for those curious about Cutter Dykstra, I took a gander at his career stats and it appears that he's a butcher with the glove. His career fielding average is barely above .900, which means that he makes an error for every 10 chances. He's worse at 3rd base but also was bad at 2nd base. The experiment in CF didn't work out either. It appears that Cutter is living off his father's name. The best part of the return for Nyjer may have been the 50 grand that the Brewers sent the Nats.

  13. raymitten - Mar 28, 2011 at 5:56 PM

    I'd keep Gonzalez, he is good defensively at all three IF postions. I know that isn't what the Nats want to do, but from the way he played this spring, I'd have a hard time cutting ties with him. I really found Stairs' defense to be below minimally satisfactory. I would keep Nix over him (again, not what I expect). I think Bernadina is the best of the three remaining, but I think he'd best develop by learining to play CF in Syracuse — he was misreading balls often this spring. (Unlike Nyjer Morgan, I think this was just a matter of experience rather than inability, because he made a few great plays too.) I'm a big Broderick supporter, until yesterday he was lights out. But Balester pitched better than Coffey — I'd send Coffey sprinting to the unemployment line and keep Bally and Broderick. I guess Goofy will have to find something else to do today other than throw out the first pitch, as he did on the St. Patrick's Day game there.

  14. N. Cognito - Mar 28, 2011 at 6:00 PM

    By the way, for those curious about Cutter Dykstra, we didn't trade Morgan for him. We traded Morgan for $50,000.

  15. Section 222 - Mar 28, 2011 at 6:02 PM

    I think JD has it right. There's no shame in Balestar going down for awhile. There are bound to be injurires and blowups that will start the revolving door between Syracuse and DC. Gonzales has hit well this spring, but let's not forget his history making low RBI season last year. He's a good glove guy but that's about it. and this year, thankfully, we won't need late inning defensive replacements nearly as much. Bixler can fill in if someone gets hurt. Otherwise, I think Cora gives you more versatility and a better attitude. Get what you can for Gonzales in a trade. Bernadina has to stay. He can play all three outfild positions, pinchrun, will be a decent pinch-hitting option against righties. Most important, I definitely would rather have him in the outfield if Morse has to come in and play first base for LaRoche, or Werth needs a day off.

  16. Doc - Mar 28, 2011 at 6:03 PM

    @ NatsJack: Hanging with Stairs for me would be a real treat too–the guy's all baseball, and a former Expo Canuck to boot!

  17. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 28, 2011 at 6:03 PM

    One has to view the Coffey decision in this light. There are several teams breaking camp with questions about their bullpen. It is much easier and certainly more rewarding to trade a commodity like Coffey off your 25 man roster and promote Balester than to keep Balester and lose Coffey while still having to pay him.Coffey will have value early this season.

  18. Anonymous - Mar 28, 2011 at 6:03 PM

    A winning spring means an almost winning regular season, 79+ wins!UNTERP

  19. Anonymous - Mar 28, 2011 at 6:17 PM

    Nationals today optioned RHP Collin Balester, LHP Ross Detwiler and OF Roger Bernadina to Triple-A Syracuse.Its Coffey, Gaudin, and Nix instead.INF Brian Bixler has been re-assigned to minor league camp.They could ostensibly keep both Gonzalez and Cora for now …

  20. Anonymous - Mar 28, 2011 at 6:20 PM

    Almost forgot … And according to Kilgore (last night's tweet) Stairs in on the 25 man.All that's really left to see is who gets moved off of the 40-man to make some more room.

  21. Anonymous - Mar 28, 2011 at 6:22 PM

    Also, according to Ladson, Broderick has made the 25-man

  22. Sec 3, My Sofa - Mar 28, 2011 at 6:24 PM

    "Sam said…It's sad that baseball is a business at the end of the day."*Professional* baseball is a business, pretty much all day long. There's a lot if amateur baseball around.

  23. Sec 3, My Sofa - Mar 28, 2011 at 6:30 PM

    I'm guessing Tom Milone wouldn't have minded the drive as much as others. Tough luck, kid… go get 'em next time.

  24. JD - Mar 28, 2011 at 6:32 PM

    I think Rizzo is hoping that lightning can strike twice; he would love for Coffee to be this year's Capps. There is a sucker born every day; some contending team will lose a key member of their pen to injury and we'll 'resolve' their problem by relieving them of this year's equivalent of Wilson Ramos. One can hope; can't one?

  25. Anonymous - Mar 28, 2011 at 6:33 PM

    Nationals depth chart:RSP Livan HernandezRSP Jason MarquisLSP John LannanRSP Jordan ZimmermannLSP Tom GorzelannyRSP/RRP Brian BroderickRSP/RRP Chad GaudinRRP Drew StorenLRP Sean BurnettRRP Todd CoffeyRRP Tyler ClippardLRP Doug Slaten(Assume Ramirez DL or offered back, Henry Rodriguez DL)11 pitchers.Infield.R Ian Desmond SSS Danny Espinosa 2B/SSR Ryan Zimmeran 3BL Adam LaRoche 1BL Matt Stairs 1B/PHL Alex Cora UTILITYR Alberto Gonzalez UTILITYR Jerry Hairston jr UTILITYR Jerry Hairston Jr Utility8 infielders.R Jayson Werth RFR Michael Morse LFL Rick Ankiel CFL Laynce Nix UTILITY4 outfieldersR Ivan Rodriguez CR Wilson Ramos C2 catchers.I think that's 25 folks.

  26. alexva - Mar 28, 2011 at 6:35 PM

    Mark, are you sure you can DL a Rule 5 pick, in this case Ramirez?

  27. Anonymous - Mar 28, 2011 at 6:36 PM

    Duplication …Nationals depth chart:RSP Livan HernandezRSP Jason MarquisLSP John LannanRSP Jordan ZimmermannLSP Tom GorzelannyRSP/RRP Brian BroderickRSP/RRP Chad GaudinRRP Drew StorenLRP Sean BurnettRRP Todd CoffeyRRP Tyler ClippardLRP Doug Slaten(Assume Ramirez DL or offered back, Henry Rodriguez DL)11 pitchers.Infield.R Ian Desmond SSS Danny Espinosa 2B/SSR Ryan Zimmeran 3BL Adam LaRoche 1BL Matt Stairs 1B/PHL Alex Cora UTILITYR Alberto Gonzalez UTILITYR Jerry Hairston jr UTILITY8 infielders.R Jayson Werth RFR Michael Morse LFL Rick Ankiel CFL Laynce Nix UTILITY4 outfieldersR Ivan Rodriguez CR Wilson Ramos C2 catchers.

  28. Anonymous - Mar 28, 2011 at 6:44 PM

    Hey Anonymous, you've got 12 pitchers, not 11. Need to lose a utility guy…

  29. erocks33 - Mar 28, 2011 at 6:45 PM

    I agree with NatsJack. Nats will keep Coffey and move Bally to SYR to start the season in hopes that Coffey will be good enough for them to trade for a prospect(s). Then, if Bally continues to pitch well in relief in SYR, he gets called up.Same probably goes with Nix and/or Stairs. One (or both) could stay in DC with Bernadina playing everyday in SYR until one (or both) of Nix/Stairs gets traded mid-season.Most teams on the verge of going to the playoffs (which, frankly, will not be the Nats this season), will always need relief pitching and left-handed batters for their playoff push. Nats have an overabundance of both and Rizzo will stockpile these assets until he can trade them in for better prospects by July.

  30. Feel Wood - Mar 28, 2011 at 6:45 PM

    "Mark, are you sure you can DL a Rule 5 pick, in this case Ramirez?"Of course you can. What would be the alternative? "Here, take your pitcher back. And oh, by the way, we broke him."

  31. Anonymous - Mar 28, 2011 at 6:46 PM

    you've got 12 pitchers, not 11. Need to lose a utility guy…Ooops my bad.

  32. alexva - Mar 28, 2011 at 6:53 PM

    @Feel Wood..funnybtw I checked it out, he must be active for 90 days, cannot be optioned so his minor league action limited to rehab assignment.

  33. Anonymous - Mar 28, 2011 at 7:01 PM

    Nationals placed RHP Henry Rodriguez on the 15-Day DL; place RHPs Chien-Ming Wang and Elvin Ramirez on the 60-Day DL.Three spots on the 40-man open in addition to the 1 that was Morgan's.

  34. JaneB - Mar 28, 2011 at 7:11 PM

    Sooooo unhappy that it's Bernie who is going down. not right to de-motivate a guy of the future, and especially one of his ability, for "veterans" at the end of their careers who add nothing but seniority to the line up. Glad for Broderick; and hope they dump Coffey fast,through a trade if he starts pitching well again. Or just plain dump him, if he keeps giving up runs the way he has this spring. Balestar deserved that spot instead of Todd, in my view. Just based on results. But Bernadina going down… ah, that's hard.

  35. N. Cognito - Mar 28, 2011 at 7:11 PM

    As I previuosly stated, think of it as a 30-man roster, not a 25-man roster.

  36. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 28, 2011 at 7:21 PM

    The same premise holds for Roger as the one for Coffey. Roger is on his last option and this gives the team front office some time to check the waiver wires and still have control of their assests. And that 30-man roster N. Cognito proposes only works when options are available. Roger will play left field in Syracuse while Brown will roam center field. But Roger will be back soon.

  37. Jeeves - Mar 28, 2011 at 7:26 PM

    Option or not, it's a farce that Balester is being sent down. Guess we'll have to wait for Coffey to blow a few games before Bali returns. And so much for a good job being rewarded.

  38. Steady Eddie - Mar 28, 2011 at 7:40 PM

    JaneB — I would have agreed with you re keeping Bernie up before Morse locked down LF before mid-ST, but Bernie needs to play every day and he's still learning CF. Better for him to be an everyday starter in Syracuse until they can trade or toss Nix or put Stairs in Syr as a coach. If he proves himself he'll be upby the All-Star break.

  39. N. Cognito - Mar 28, 2011 at 7:40 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… "And that 30-man roster N. Cognito proposes only works when options are available."I considered that a given. If none of your best 30 have options, you're cutting or trading someone.

  40. N. Cognito - Mar 28, 2011 at 7:42 PM

    "And so much for a good job being rewarded."The players are well aware of how the system works.

  41. John C. - Mar 28, 2011 at 7:55 PM

    Bernadina may well be going down to play LF every day in Syracuse; Corey Brown will probably be the regular CF in Syracuse.

  42. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 28, 2011 at 7:57 PM

    N. Cognito…. I knew you did. It was for others that were scratching their head.

  43. JaneB - Mar 28, 2011 at 8:16 PM

    Thanks for the wisdom, NatsJack, SteadyEddy and N. Cognito. I guess I could never be a manager because I am in the "so much for a good job being rewarded" camp. I get that it's business, I get that there is no crying in baseball, but it makes me sad anyway.

  44. N. Cognito - Mar 28, 2011 at 8:28 PM

    On the non-official depth chart, Bernadina is probably the 3rd outfielder, but they don't want him starting in CF and they don't want him sitting on the bench.

Archives

FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 96 66 --
ATLANTA 79 83 17.0
NEW YORK 79 83 17.0
MIAMI 77 85 19.0
PHILADELPHIA 73 89 23.0

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NL WILD CARD GAME
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NLDS
FRI: Game 1, Pirates at Nats, 12:07 p.m.,
OR Giants at Nats, 3:07 p.m. (FS1)
SAT: Game 2, PIT/SF at Nats, 5:37 p.m. (FS1)
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