Most of the Nats beat reporters are posting that Jesus Flores is getting sent back down to AAA and that infielder Brian Bixler is getting the call-up. Flores just hasn’t been getting at bats (2 pinch hitting appearances in 10 days) and he needs to get playing time if we’re going to parlay him into anything of value on the trade market.
Meanwhile, we know that Ian Desmond is imminently going on paternity leave and we’ll need a middle infielder to cover for him (since we’re already using one of our backup infielders Jerry Hairston Jr on a full time basis covering for the injured Ryan Zimmerman).
Bixler has merited a look, having played well in Spring Training and having hit pretty well down in Syracuase thus far (.326/.483/.370 in 46 plate appearances). Maybe he’ll even feature at lead-off for a bit with such a great OBP.
Here’s the problem: Bixler’s not on our 40-man roster. He’ll need to be added, and someone will need to be dropped off. We’ve already dumped all three guys that we could onto the 60-day roster (Strasburg, Elvin Ramirez and Wang) and none of the 15-day DL guys would make sense. So it looks like someone’s getting the axe. Here’s your top candidates and my guess
- Atahualpa Severino: He lost out on the Loogy role in the spring, and then presumably lost out on the loogy role in AAA as well. He’s currently on the minor league “DL” but nobody heard of any injury to the guy towards the end of spring training. We brought in Hyde and have converted Chico to situational lefties in Syracuse, making Severino pretty obsolete. I’m guessing he’s the most expendible.
- Lee Hyde: see my commentary in my latest minor league pitching review for why Hyde may be on the chopping block. He was a late spring waiver acquisition from Atlanta and has been awful in Syracuse thus far. His saving grace is that he’s a lefty.
- Garrett Mock: his latest outing in Syracuse gives him 17 walks in 11 1/3 AAA innings in 2011. He may get a stay of execution this time around, but I have to think his days are numbered on the 40-man.
- Chad Gaudin: so far he’s been the least effective pitcher in our bullpen (further commented upon in my latest good/bad/indifferent post). He may be safe for now, but may be released when both Coffey and Rodriguez are healthy and need 25-man spots at the same time.
Prediction: Severino makes way, passes through waivers and stays in extended spring training. Unless there’s some rule about dropping a guy on your DL; if so I’d guess they would re-instate him briefly to AAA then DFA him or outright release him.
4/23/11 Update: The Nationals announced they have designated Lee Hyde for assignment, ending his Nationals tenure after just a few weeks.
Side note on the Paternity policy as it relates to the 40-man machinations: I believe the paternity leave allows a team to place a player on a temporary restricted list, which temporarily removes him from the 40-man roster. I am having a hard time finding the actual text of the new policy; all I can find is that it is good for 24-72 hours and allows a team to replace the player on the active roster. I would have to think that the replacement player would already have to be on the 40-man roster, so we’d still need to make a corresponding 40-man move.