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Washington Nationals announce roster moves after next-to-last Grapefruit League game...

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With a number of roster moves this afternoon, the Washington Nationals came close to deciding which players will make the Opening Day roster next week.

MLB: Spring Training-Houston Astros at Washington Nationals Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Following a loss in the next-to-last Grapefruit League game this afternoon, Washington’s Nationals announced a series of roster moves which clear up a few things in advance of the regular season opener this coming Thursday.

Here are the moves the Nats announced...

The Nationals:

  • Optioned Austin Adams, Pedro Severino and Andrew Stevenson to Triple-A Syracuse
  • Reassigned Tim Collins, Chris Dominguez, Edwin Jackson, Spencer Kieboom, Tommy Milone, Moises Sierra, and Christopher Smith to Minor League camp
  • Released Reid Brignac and Ryan Raburn

Washington’s decision to option Pedro Severino to Triple-A Syracuse means that veteran backstop Miguel Montero will start the season as Matt Wieters’ backup in the majors.

Montero, 34, signed a Minor League deal with the Nationals this Spring after putting up a combined .216/.310/.346 line, six doubles, and six home runs over 76 games and 213 plate appearances with Chicago and Toronto last season, over which he was worth -0.4 fWAR.

He has history with both new manager Davey Martinez (from their time together with the Cubs) and GM Mike Rizzo (from their time in Arizona), and now he’ll back up Wieters, and potentially get significant time behind the plate if the Nationals stick with the plan they’d previously discussed to limit Wieters’ starts in an attempt to keep him fresh.

Severino, who started the Spring as the frontrunner for the backup role, will instead play every day at Triple-A.

With Edwin Jackson and Tommy Milone reassigned to Minor League camp, the Nationals, and Martinez, who announced that A.J. Cole would be the fifth starter this week, made it official, though how long he holds onto the spot and whether or not Jeremy Hellickson is going to bump him to the bullpen when up to speed is the next question.

There is also some more clarity in the bullpen. Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson, and Brandon Kintzler are givens. Shawn Kelley, in spite of his struggles last season and this Spring, will likely make the Opening Day roster.

With Austin Adams, Tim Collins and Christoper Smith out of the mix, and Joaquin Benoit and Koda Glover likely to start the season on the Disabled List, depending on how many relievers the Nationals put on the roster next week, some mix of left-handers Sammy Solis, Enny Romero, and Matt Grace and right-hander Trevor Gott will fill the final spots.