The Washington Nationals waited as long as they could to make the last two roster decisions so that new Nats' skipper Dusty Baker could see as much of his new team and his options as he could.
On Friday night, the Nationals decided on Blake Treinen for the final bullpen spot and Chris Heisey for the final spot on the Nats' bench.
"Treinen, I mean, he had an outstanding Spring," Baker said. "He's one of our back end of the bullpen guys and he's a guy that can throw up a double play or get a strikeout when you need it and it appears that he's maturing in front of our very eyes. He's gaining confidence every day.
"And the choice of Heisey, was a very, very, very tough decision," he continued.
"Because the incumbent, Reed Johnson, who had been here before and was very popular with the players and in the area... just felt that Heisey had more to offer as far as playing all three outfield positions, little more speed, little better throwing arm. Both are excellent pinch hitters, so, Heisey's power is intriguing. I had him before, but I haven't seen him in a couple years, so I didn't know what to expect. So he had probably the most ABs on the team for me to see if he was the same or better or worse as a player."
Baker did say that he did have some regrets about the fact that they Nationals took so long making their final choices.
"I wish we hadn't taken it to this late in the Spring," he said.
"Because it makes it hard for guys to get a job because every team has an equal roster problem. And so, my heart goes out to these guys. Especially at the end, I didn't really sleep that well last night, at all, because it affects me.
"I've been where they've been. I know that their families are affected, but it's a big-boy game and that's part of the game."
One of the tough cuts was the decision to pass on veteran left-hander Sean Burnett, who had previously pitched for the Nationals and was attempting to come back from his second Tommy John surgery.
The decision was made more difficult by the fact the Burnett put together an impressive Spring.
"It came down to a matter of numbers and who don't you keep?" Baker explained.
"[Shawn] Kelley signed a three-year contract, was signed with us. [Matt] Belisle has an outstanding track record.
"Do you carry three left-handers or two left-handers? And the rest of the bullpen was kind of set as it was. [Yusmeiro] Petit's coming off a couple World Series, so like I said, it was a very, very, very tough decision. Especially for Mike Rizzo, [being] involved, because he's close to Burnett.
"We'd like to keep them all and if they don't get a big league job we'd still like to have them back, but you can't stand in the way of their careers and be so selfish that you want them back and not in the big leagues and in the minor leagues."
The bullpen decisions weren't the only difficult ones. The final bench spot was up for grabs for a number of players Baker thought could fill the role.
"One of the tougher decisions, was [Matt den Dekker]," he said. "We had so many, this is kind of strange, you never feel that you have too many left-handed bats. That's what everybody is looking for... I urged him to go down and play effectively and you never know what's going to happen. I think this guy is big league ready, but this is what happens when you have a good team."
Baker was asked on Saturday if any decisions were made on the players who didn't make the Opening Day roster and hadn't yet been optioned to the minors or reassigned to Minor League camp like Burnett, Reed Johnson or Brendan Ryan?
"I don't know yet," he said.
"That's in the hands of those that are upstairs. They have different dates and different... things. That's more in the hands of Bob Miller and Mike Rizzo.
"So, the language is something that quite frankly I try to stay out of because I have enough decisions to make."
The Nationals announced this morning that Burnett and Johnson were released and Ryan was, in fact, reassigned to Minor League camp:
The #Nats have released OF Reed Johnson & LHP Sean Burnett. Additionally, INF Brendan Ryan has been reassigned to Minor League camp.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) April 3, 2016
So, here it is, the Washington Nationals' official 2016 Opening Day 25-Man Roster: