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Washington Nationals Trade Alberto Gonzalez To San Diego Padres, Finalize 25-Man Roster.

Following the flurry of moves this afternoon which saw LHP Ross Detwiler, RHP Collin Balester and outfielder Roger Bernadina optioned to Triple-A Syracuse while IF Brian Bixler was reassigned to minor league camp, and OF Laynce Nix and RHP Brian Broderick were named to the Nats' 25-Man Roster, there was only one roster spot still to be decided...

Alberto Gonzalez or Alex Cora?

The trade late this afternoon that sent the 27-year-old Gonzalez to San Diego after three seasons in D.C. for 24-year-old Padres' '08 13th Round pick, pitcher Erik Davis, decided the 25th spot on the 2011 Nationals' Opening Day roster. 

Davis is a 6'4'' right-hander who pitched at three levels in the Padres' system last season, striking out 133 (8.4 K/9) and walking 48 (3.0 BB/9) in 27 starts (19 at A, 7 at AA and 1 AAA)  and 143.1 IP. The Nats' Official Press release on the deal points to the former Stanford University starter, and teammate of Drew Storen's, "...impressive .780 winning percentage with 8.5 strikeouts per 9.0 innings (278 K/293.2 IP)," and his, "30 wins over the last two seasons, which is tops among all minor-league pitchers."

(ed. note - "In case you didn't see this in the comments to posts earlier today, here's a link to Minor League's John Sickels' thoughts on the new Nats' prospect.")

Alberto Gonzalez leaves the Nationals after three seasons in which the one-time D-Backs' prospect and Yankees' bench player posted a .266/.302/.350 slash line with 30 doubles in 236 games and 568 plate appearances following his acquisition in a July 31, 2008 trade that sent RHP Jhonny Nunez to NY.

After reports last season that Gonzalez was unhappy with a bench role in 2010 and a report this winter out of the Venezuelan Winter League which said he'd prefer a starting job over another season in a utility role, the Nats' decision to go with the veteran Cora on the bench isn't too surprising, in spite of the fact that Gonzalez was 20 for 53 (.377) with .421 OBP in 25 games this Spring. 

The trade with the Padres leaves IF Alex Cora as the 25th man to be named to the Nats' 25-Man roster:

• 2011 Nats' Rotation: 

  1. Livan Hernandez - RHP
  2. John Lannan - LHP 
  3. Jordan Zimmermann - RHP
  4. Jason Marquis - RHP 
  5. Tom Gorzelanny - LHP

• (ed. note - "At least FB got the rotation right in our 1/31/11 Spring Training Preview:

"Opening Day Rotation Prediction Before Spring Training Even Starts (in no particular order): 2011 Rotation: 1. Livan 2. Zim(n) 3. Marquis 4. Lannan 5. Gorzelanny...with Detwiler and Maya pushing for roles.")

• 2011 Nats' Bullpen:

  1. Brian Broderick (RHP)
  2. Sean Burnett (LHP)
  3. Tyler Clippard (RHP)
  4. Todd Coffey (RHP)
  5. Chad Gaudin (RHP) 
  6. Doug Slaten (LHP)
  7. Drew Storen (RHP)
• 2011 Nats'  Lineup (and likely Opening Day order): 
  1. Ian Desmond - SS
  2. Jayson Werth - RF
  3. Ryan Zimmerman - 3B (Word.)
  4. Adam LaRoche - 1B
  5. Michael Morse - LF
  6. Rick Ankiel - CF
  7. Danny Espinosa - 2B
  8. Ivan "Pudge Rodriguez - C
• 2011 Nats' Bench: 
  1. Alex Cora - IF
  2. Jerry Hairston - IF/OF
  3. Laynce Nix - OF
  4. Wilson Ramos - C
  5. Matt Stairs - 1B/PH

• Next In Line: 

  1. Ross Detwiler (LHP)
  2. Yunesky Maya (RHP)
  3. Collin Balester (RHP)
  4. Roger Bernadina - OF