As the Nats are breaking camp, they’ve announced a flurry of roster moves that are setting up the team for its opening day. And, in a series of moves reminiscent to 2009′s opening day roster, we’re breaking camp not necessarily with the best guys on our 25-man roster, but with the best team option status (or lack of them) can assemble.
As the title of this post suggests, I understand the logic of these decisions but don’t necessarily like what it means for the team. I think we’re weaker than we could be, and we’re keeping around veterans with no long term place for this team instead of playing guys who deserve to be on the MLB squad. I think it sends a bad message to guys who deserve to be playing but who will be heading to Syracuse.
Both Collin Balester and Roger Bernadina seem to have missed out on roster spots so that the team would not lose players who may have trade value in Chad Gaudin and Laynce Nix respectively.
For some reason, we’re keeping Matt Stairs instead of a player who can actually help off the bench. As pointed out by Ben Goessling, this also means that our bench is incredibly lefty-heavy and we’ll struggle with matchups later in games. Isn’t Rizzo obsessed with defense? How does Stair’s lack of *any* discernable defensive capability fit in with his overall vision for this team? Another Natsmosphere twitter-er asked this good question; if Adam LaRoche‘s shoulder puts him on the DL; who exactly is the backup first baseman out of this group of bench players?
So, for our final 25-man roster we’re using 4 non-roster invitees. Gaudin makes the team and probably deserved it. Nix makes the team and seems to be trade bait. Stairs makes the team for some reason or another. And Alex Cora probably (deservedly) makes the team as Alberto Gonzalez‘s replacement (who we’ve traded to San Diego for a pretty good prospect considering we would have DFA’d him in 3 days…).
I guess if we obtain prospects for Gaudin or Nix in a trade later on this season, then it would be worth the options burn on Balester and Bernadina. I hope so; along with Detwiler and Mock, 2011 represents their final option year.