In the latest round of cuts, the Washington Nationals whittled their roster down to 27, leaving three players (Wilmer Difo, Michael A. Taylor and Jeremy Guthrie) in the mix for the 25th spot on the Opening Day (25-man roster).
The latest moves were announced this morning on Twitter:
Right-handers Trevor Gott, A.J. Cole and Jacob Turner, left-hander Neal Cotts and catcher Jhonatan Solano were reassigned to minor league camp and, additionally, veteran reliever Vance Worley was released.
That leaves Difo and Taylor in the mix for a bench spot as a super-utility man in Difo’s case or a backup outfielder if the Nationals opt for Taylor, or they could keep Guthrie, 37, who hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2015 in Kansas City, as the long man in the bullpen.
Difo, 24, is 15 for 51 this Spring (.294/.327/.412) with two doubles, two triples, three walks, 10 Ks and four stolen bases in 28 games, coming off a 2016 campaign in which the versatile infielder (who’s seen some time in the OF this Spring) played 104 games at Double-A Harrisburg (.259/.318/.354, 15 doubles, three triples, six home runs), one game at Triple-A, and 31 in the majors, over which he put up a .276/.364/.379 line with three doubles, a home run and three stolen bases.
Taylor, 26, has dominated Grapefruit League pitching for the second straight Spring, going 16 for 43 (.372/.372/.605) with two doubles, a triple and two homers over 20 games, coming off a 2016 season split between Triple-A and the majors which saw him post a .231/.278/.376 line, 11 doubles and seven home runs in 237 PAs with the Nats and a .205/.285/.291 line, five doubles, a triple and a home run in 117 PAs with the Nationals’ top minor league affiliate.
Guthrie, in his last major league season in 2015, posted a 5.95 ERA, a 5.62 FIP, 44 walks and 84 Ks in 30 games, 24 starts, and 148 1⁄3 innings pitched for the Kansas City Royals.
In 18 2⁄3 innings pitched this Spring, the veteran reliever has a 2.41 ERA (5 ER in 18 2/3), with five walks, 15 Ks and a .159 BAA over nine appearances, two as a starter.
We probably won’t find out until later this weekend if Dusty Baker opts to keep Difo as a switch-hitting super-utility man off the bench, if he sticks with Taylor, or if he keeps Guthrie around as a long man out of the bullpen... assuming of course, as MASN’s Mark Zuckerman noted on Twitter this morning, that Sammy Solis and Koda Glover (who do have options remaining according to Zuckerman’s reporting) and Enny Romero (who does not) are already part of the Nats’ Opening Day bullpen.