There were multiple reports this morning about the Nationals' decision to option 24-year-old infielder Zach Walters to Triple-A Syracuse after a strong 15-game run in Grapefruit League action in which the shortstop was 11 for 29 (.379/.455/.621) with two doubles, a triple, one home run, four walks and eight Ks. Walters wasn't the only player optioned to the Nats' top affiliate today:
The #Nats have optioned RHP Ross Ohlendorf, C Jhonatan Solano, INF Zach Walters & RHP Christian Garcia to Triple-A Syracuse.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) March 20, 2014
In addition to those moves, the Nationals also reassigned several players to minor league camp:
Additionally, the #Nats reassigned RHP Manny Delcarmen, 1B Brock Peterson & INF Will Rhymes to Minor League camp.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) March 20, 2014
Christian Garcia and Manny Delcarmen are now out of the competition for the final spot in the Nationals' bullpen. Luis Ayala was granted his unconditional release yesterday. So that leaves right-handers Ryan Mattheus, Blake Treinen, Aaron Barrett, Tanner Roark (if he doesn't make the rotation) and left-handers Mike Gonzalez and Xavier Cedeno in the mix.
Ryan Mattheus was set back by a rib issue earlier this spring. Aaron Barrett and Blake Treinen hanging on this long is a bit of a surprise, but both have impressed Nationals' Manager Matt Williams this spring. The decision to add Ross Detwiler to the bullpen means the Nats would have three left-handers if they were to keep either Gonzalez or Cedeno. Ross Ohlendorf signed a major league deal this winter after a strong season in the organization in 2013. Christian Garcia is finally healthy after missing most of last season to injury.
With one spot left in the bullpen and one on the bench, the Nationals' Opening Day roster is shaping up. Who will make the final cut? Was the decision to send Zach Walters surprising to you? In spite of his success this spring, he was a long shot to make the Opening Day roster even after a breakout power campaign at Triple-A last season.
Barrett? Treinen? Roark? Who makes the pen? Tyler Moore? Jamey Carroll? Who makes the bench?