Following Saturday afternoon’s 4-1 win over the Houston Astros in West Palm Beach, FL’s Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, the Washington Nationals announced their latest round of roster cuts, optioning catcher Pedro Severino, right-handed reliever Rafael Martin, left-handed reliever Matt Grace and outfielder Brian Goodwin to Triple-A Syracuse and reassigning infielder Emmanuel Burriss to minor league camp.
The moves left the Nationals with 37 players in camp, a week before they’ll have to cut that down to 25 for Opening Day.
"Now it's getting kind of late," Baker told reporters, as quoted by MLB.com’s Jamal Collier, on Saturday. "Probably do some today, some tomorrow and more next week."
Severino, 23, went 7 for 24 (.292/.320/.333) with a double, a walk and eight Ks in 17 games before he was optioned to the Nationals’ top minor league affiliate.
Over 82 games and 317 plate appearances at Triple-A last season, Severino, described by General Manager Mike Rizzo this winter as the Nationals’ catcher of the future, put up a .271/.316/.337 line, 13 doubles and two home runs, while going 9 for 28 with two doubles and two home runs in the majors.
Martin, 32, put up a 1.23 ERA (1 ER in 7 1⁄3 IP) in Grapefruit League action this Spring, walking four batters and striking out seven while holding opposing hitters to a .125 AVG.
He pitched at Syracuse in 2016, putting up a 4.56 ERA, a 4.57 FIP, 25 walks and 50 Ks with 22 saves in 50 appearances and 49 1⁄3 innings pitched while making eight appearances in the majors.
Grace, 28, gave up six hits and three runs, two earned, in eight games and 7 1⁄3 innings this Spring, walking one, striking out three and holding hitters to a .222 AVG.
The lefty made five appearance in the majors last season, but spent most of the year in Syracuse, where he posted a 2.85 ERA, a 2.66 FIP, nine walks and 32 Ks in 47 1⁄3 IP.
Goodwin, 26, struggled at the plate in Grapefruit League action this Spring, going 5 for 44 (114/.231/.159) with two doubles, seven walks and 13 Ks in 22 games after spending most of the 2016 campaign at Triple-A, where he put up a .280/.349/.438 line with 25 doubles and 14 home runs in 119 games and 492 PAs.
Goodwin debuted in the majors last season, posting a .286/.318/.429 line in 22 games and 44 PAs with the Nationals.
Burriss, 32, who played for the Nationals’ top affiliate in 2014-15 and appeared in five games in the majors before joining the Philadelphia Phillies’ organization in 2016 and returning to Washington this winter, went 7 for 29 with two doubles this Spring.
Severino being optioned out leaves Matt Wieters and Jose Lobaton as the everyday and backup catchers, respectively.
Goodwin being optioned out leaves five players (infielder Wilmer Difo, first basemen Clint Robinson and Adam Lind, and outfielders Brandon Snyder and Michael A. Taylor) battling it out for the last two spots on the Nationals’ bench, with Lobaton, Chris Heisey and Stephen Drew. Who takes the last two spots? Why? And what about the bullpen?