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Walters optioned to Class AAA Syracuse

Mar 20, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

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VIERA, Fla. — The Nationals removed one more name from the mix for the final spot on their bench this morning, optioning infielder Zach Walters to Class AAA Syracuse.

Walters entered camp as a long shot to crack the Opening Day roster, but the 24-year-old did everything he could to make a case for himself with a strong offensive performance. In 15 Grapefruit League games, he hit .379 (11-for-29) with a homer, five RBI and a 1.075 OPS.

Acquired from the Diamondbacks in the 2011 deadline deal for Jason Marquis, Walters broke through last season when he clubbed 29 homers at Syracuse and earned a September promotion to Washington.

But Walters faced stiff competition this spring from fellow infielders in camp, most notably Danny Espinosa, who is expected to make the Opening Day roster as the club’s primary backup infielder.

There does remain one more bench job up for grabs, with Tyler Moore and Jamey Carroll the likely finalists for that position ahead of the only other remaining position players in big-league camp: Jeff Kobernus, Will Rhymes and Brock Peterson.

  1. Hiram Hover - Mar 20, 2014 at 11:11 AM

    Counting down to an explosion from his boosters in 3 … 2 … 1

    • natinalsgo - Mar 20, 2014 at 11:39 AM

      His fielding and his fielding and his fielding have been his liability the Nats can’t take the chance on right now. The Ks you can take a chance on.

      Ghost copied and pasted an email he sent to some other people here yesterday that Walters would be sent down and Espinosa will be on this roster as will Hairston unless trades are made. He was told that from one of his sources who further is also brainwashed that the 2nd base competition is for real. That’s not Ghost saying that, that’s his source. He was just telling us.

      • NatsLady - Mar 20, 2014 at 12:01 PM

        Has Ghost given up posting here, or is he under a different name? I wasn’t on much yesterday. Work.

      • natinalsgo - Mar 20, 2014 at 12:06 PM

        He came out of hiding yesterday when someone posted as “Steve” but it wasn’t him. He said it sounded like his words but the post was too short which was the giveaway it wasn’t him.

      • natinalsgo - Mar 20, 2014 at 12:08 PM

        It was great hearing from him on the team formation and his detail he gave me on the lineup formation. He thinks Rendon could be the leadoff eventually against lefties only. Always good to hear from him.

      • Hiram Hover - Mar 20, 2014 at 12:08 PM

        Appreciate your sharing – hope Ghost comes back at some point to post here.

        My thinking is largely along the same lines, except that I see Walters high K rate and late OBP as a bigger problem – I expect a guy who only got on base at at .286 clip, and struck out over 27% of the time vs AAA pitching, to get chewed up in the majors.

      • Hiram Hover - Mar 20, 2014 at 12:10 PM

        erm, “low” OBP.

    • natinalsgo - Mar 20, 2014 at 11:51 AM

      Not bad to be 11th in the Majors. Rendon was almost a 3.0 WAR for offense playing 80% of the season. He will improve his defense and could be a 4.0+ WAR in 2014.

  2. davecydell - Mar 20, 2014 at 11:16 AM

    As I have said before: Moore will be an AL DH big$s man soon enough.
    I like Moore, but I also like the Nats and there really is no place for him there.
    Good Luck to Merry Tyler Moore.
    Rizzo should get some nice fresh, young meat for him.

  3. NatsLady - Mar 20, 2014 at 11:29 AM

    Jon Heyman @JonHeymanCBS
    x-ray on correa’s left hand is negative. correa hit by pitch last night. carlos feels pretty good but a bit sore. #stros

  4. laddieblahblah - Mar 20, 2014 at 11:41 AM

    Walters has got a long way to go, but if the Nats coaching staff can turn Desi from a defensive liability to an above-average defender, they may be able to do the same with Walters.

    And he has to get his strike-outs down and his OBP up. Situational hitting is important to the Nats’ new skipper, and striking out in critical situations is just not going to cut it. Danny seems to have gotten the message.

    Matt strikes is a defensively-oriented skipper, and rightly so, considering the strength of his rotation and his pen. This year’s team will score more runs that last year’s team because of Matt’s emphasis on situational hitting and aggressive base running. If they can score a little more, and keep the bad guys from scoring as much, the Nats will run away with the NL East.

    I really like Matt’s approach, to a lot of stuff. So many games are won at the margins, and Matt is determined to make sure the Nats win more than their share of the close ones, this year.

    Can’t wait for the games to begin.

    • natinalsgo - Mar 20, 2014 at 11:53 AM

      Laddie you are back! I’ve missed your daily analysis.

      • laddieblahblah - Mar 20, 2014 at 12:22 PM

        Thanks fellow Nats fanatic. Face it – we just can’t help ourselves!

        I’ve been lurking, though, without commenting. I’m almost always wrong about the off-season, anyway, and this year was no different. Had no clue about the trades for Fister, Lobaton and Blevins. We all knew Mike would do something, but he outdid himself this past winter. The only thing I figured he might do, and did, was signing McClouth.

        Fister for Haren, Blevins for Duke, McClouth for Bernie, Lobaton for Zuki, and Danny for Lombo on the big team, and Rivero, Vettleson, and Peterson, et. al., for Ray, Burns and Marrero, et. al. in the MiL system. And somebody (Garcia?) for HRod from last year’s opening day roster.

        Upgrades everywhere, IMO, except, perhaps, for Danny and Lobaton, who I am not really familiar with. But I trust in Rizzo and his scouts. Danny is most definitely an upgrade over Lombo as a late game defensive replacement and pinch runner. All he has to do is hit .240, improve his situational hitting and put the ball in play instead of striking out so much, and the Nats, and we, will be delighted. Haven’t seen him play, but judging by the reports from Viera, he is trying.

        They are a better team this year than last, with a better skipper, and the Braves are weaker. Matt will have them fighting right out of the gate. No “What, me worry?” attitude from him. No favorites, no pets, no special consideration for starters’ stats – the only decision rule is now “what’s best for the team.”

      • natinalsgo - Mar 20, 2014 at 12:41 PM

        Ghost wanted me to post to you that he would like to email with you. His email is S***ide_Squ****@Outlook.com The ***** can be replaced with the letters from what the play is when a bunter puts on with a man on 3rd that breaks for home.

  5. scnatsfan - Mar 20, 2014 at 11:45 AM

    He will be up this season, glad he will get every day ABs in AAA.

  6. Doc - Mar 20, 2014 at 12:35 PM

    With all due respect to Ghost’s Ghost’s inside source, he’s soaking wet about the competition at 2nd.

    Rendon just hitting against lefties!?? Really???

    So Danny who can’t hit righties is the solution??

    C’mon, give me a break! Who is Ghost’s inside source—the UPS delivery guy???

    • natinalsgo - Mar 20, 2014 at 12:43 PM

      Yes, brainwashed or drinking the Kool Aid. Ghost knew that. He was repeating it for a good laugh. Email Ghost. I posted his info above.

    • Hiram Hover - Mar 20, 2014 at 12:44 PM

      Doc –

      Re-reading what he posted above – it says Rendon leads off vs lefties but not that he sits vs RHP–maybe just back down in the order, with Span at lead off.

      • natinalsgo - Mar 20, 2014 at 1:25 PM

        Hiram, you’re exactly right. Span leadsoff against RHPs and Rendon moves back in the order.

        Matty will try to work Espi in as appropriate.

  7. letswin3 - Mar 20, 2014 at 3:03 PM

    I won’t deny that I’m disappointed that Walters won’t be the bench middle infielder, but I understand the plate discipline concerns. It’s just that I see bench guys as pinch-hitters, and I don’t see Danny’s bat as being nearly as good or diciplined …. geeez, Zack gets 29 dingers last season, is a switch-hitter and rakes it in this years ST, while Danny led the league in K’s in ’12 and probably would have again in ’13.. And I don’t see Danny as being a late innings defensive replacement either (as stated above) …. who needs to be replaced? I’ll get over it, but Walters will still be an option if others start moving from third to first, and second to third. I hope he doesn’t lose his determination and drive while waiting for his bite of the apple.

    • natinalsgo - Mar 20, 2014 at 3:14 PM

      It’s about the solid defense to go along with good offense . Espinosa doesn’t have Walters bat. If Walters improves his D he will get a spot on the team. If not, he’s going to need a Leftfielders glove.

  8. habs3 - Mar 20, 2014 at 3:16 PM

    Walters’ minor league stats were no worse than Desmond’s or Espinosa’s. It is amazing how players get labeled. Desmond was allowed to grow why not Walters . The same can be said for Souza, Moore , Skole and Kobernus,

    If find it annoying when people label players based on an insignificant sampling size.

    • nats128 - Mar 20, 2014 at 8:50 PM

      Not to be cruel however I dont think you get it. This isnt Manny Actas 2007 Washington Nationals. Ian Desmond got a chance because the Nats were horrible and they allowed him to learn on the MLB level. You dont remember all the hate spewed his way? Ian Desmond remembers.

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