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New number, same role for Washington Nationals' bench bat Tyler Moore in 2016

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Tyler Moore signed a 1-year/$900,000 deal with the Washington Nationals earlier this winter, avoiding arbitration. Moore's likely returning to a bench role with the Nats in 2016. Can he make it through another season on the Nationals' bench?

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Tyler Moore changed his jersey number from no.57 to no.12 before the 2013 campaign, explaining at the time that he was returning to the one he wore throughout his time in the minors.

"I've always had it," Moore told reporters, including MASNSports.com's Pete Kerzel that winter, "all through the minors."

"Feels good to be back. Didn't know if I was going to be with all the changes and stuff, but obviously it feels great to be back and just ready to get going..." -Tyler Moore on re-signing with the Nationals this winter

He'll take the field with no.32 on his back in 2015, however, having given up no.12 to new Washington Nationals' skipper Dusty Baker, who wore the number throughout his nineteen seasons as a player and his time on the bench in the majors.

"I knew that he wore it," Moore said last week. "Knew that he kind of wanted it, so obviously I was going to give it up for him. He's earned that right. Maybe 32 is kind of a new turning leaf and we'll see what happens with it."

He had to be prompted to tell reporters what he jokingly asked for in return for giving up the number to Baker.

"Maybe he'll give me some playing time in exchange for the number?" Moore said.

"We'll see. He's been great. I got to chat with him two or three different times. So I'm excited."

He said he was also excited to get a new deal with the Nationals, avoiding arbitration when he re-signed for $900K on a one-year contract earlier this winter.

"Feels good to be back," Moore said. "Didn't know if I was going to be with all the changes and stuff, but obviously it feels great to be back and just ready to get going and Spring will be here before you know it."

Moore went into Spring Training out of options last year, made the major league roster out of Spring Training and hung around all year.

He played in a career-high 97 games and made a career-high 200 plate appearances, putting up a .203/.250/.364 line with twelve doubles and six home runs in a -0.9 fWAR campaign.

Through four major league seasons, the Nationals' '08 16th Round pick has put up a combined .228/.281/.401 line with 32 doubles and 24 HRs in 649 PAs.

In 132 games and 494 PAs as a starter, Moore has a .249/.300/.438 line with 26 of his doubles and 20 homers coming when he's been given a chance to start.

As a pinch hitter, Moore has a .121/.183/.252 line with five doubles and three home runs in 115 PAs.

If he is back with the Nationals, the way the roster looks now, he'll likely be in a bench role again, which he said is not an easy role to fill.

"It's not an easy job at all and it's sometimes very frustrating because you feel like you can contribute so much more than what you actually do." -Tyler Moore on working in a bench role

"I think it's a mental thing," he said last week. "I feel like I have the physical ability and have the mental ability to just have the experience to kind of do it.

"It's not an easy job at all and it's sometimes very frustrating because you feel like you can contribute so much more than what you actually do. Just got to come in and have a really good Spring Training to come in and make the team and show them that I can play. That's pretty much the bottom line."

Washington Post columnist Thomas Boswell wrote in a chat with readers last winter that there are some who think Moore might be better off somewhere else.

"Moore's teammates can't wait for the day that he is free to leave and try to find a full time job somewhere," he wrote, "because several of them think he'll be a Josh Willingham clone for several very good years."

Moore came up in the Davey Johnson era, stuck through Matt Williams' time on the Nats' bench and now he's going to have to prove himself all over again with Baker and Co. taking over in the nation's capital.

"With the new staff and stuff, you kind of do feel like that," Moore said of having to prove himself all over again.

"Because they don't know what you can do, they just see the numbers. But once you put that helmet on, you get up to the box and hit it's something to prove. You're always, I feel like, proving to somebody whether it's this team or another team. You want them to fear you on the other side and you want to play good for your team. So, just got to come in and play and there's never really a stopping point, you have to play good to stay."

His goal this winter, Moore explained, is to work to make himself more versatile in the hope that he can earn more time whether it's at first base or in the outfield.

"I'm actually just trying to get a little bit more athletic this offseason just so I can play some more outfield and just be able to move a little bit better," he said.

"[Earlier] in my career I didn't realize how vital that would be just to be able to be stuck out there, you know. So you need to be able to play both of them and play them both decently."

Can Moore make it through another season on the Nationals' bench? Will he end up elsewhere now that he's under contract for 2016 and relatively affordable?