With two more roster moves following the completion of the Grapefruit League schedule tonight, the Washington Nationals all-but-officially set their Opening Day roster. Following the conclusion of the final game in West Palm Beach this Spring the Nationals announced that both Matt Reynolds and Adrian Sanchez had been optioned to Triple-A Syracuse.
As things stand now, this is how the roster will look on Opening Day:
Rotation: Max Scherzer; Stephen Strasburg; Gio Gonzalez; Tanner Roark; A.J. Cole
Catchers: Matt Wieters; Miguel Montero
Infield: Anthony Rendon; Trea Turner; Howie Kendrick, Wilmer Difo; Ryan Zimmerman; Matt Adams
Outfield: Adam Eaton; Michael A. Taylor; Bryce Harper; Brian Goodwin
Bullpen: Sean Doolittle; Ryan Madson; Brandon Kintzler; Shawn Kelley; Trevor Gott; Sammy Solis; Matt Grace; Enny Romero
DL: Daniel Murphy (knee), Joaquin Benoit (forearm); Koda Glover (shoulder); Joe Ross (elbow)
What are the biggest surprises for you? Miguel Montero taking a Minor League deal and then winning the backup job? It looked like it was Pedro Severino’s job when players got down to West Palm Beach, but the 24-year-old was sent to Triple-A Syracuse earlier this week, and it’s going to be Montero backing Matt Wieters up on Opening Day. How about Trevor Gott throwing 11 scoreless innings this Spring and earning a spot in the bullpen in D.C. after he’d struggled since he was acquired from the LA Angels in the Yunel Escobar trade in 2015.
How long will A.J. Cole stay in the rotation? Just until Jeremy Hellickson’s built up? Will Cole, who’s out of options (have you heard?), move to the bullpen when Hellickson is good to go?
Which of the lefties will stay when the Nationals can’t go with eight relievers anymore?
As MASN’s Mark Zuckerman noted after today’s moves, Adrian Sanchez and Matt Reynolds both had options left, while Grace and Romero did not, so keeping all the relievers for now makes some sense.
Daniel Murphy hasn’t played in live action yet, but still folks in D.C. seem more concerned about Ryan Zimmerman, whose “Spring What?” approach to Grapefruit League action is one of the bigger non-stories of the Spring... Will Zim be penciled in at first on Opening Day? “That’s the plan,” Dave Martinez told reporters this week, when he was asked.
He also noted Zimmerman’s disdain for Spring Training in explaining how the veteran first baseman prepared for the 2018 campaign.
When will Murphy be back? What will Bryce Harper’s age 25 season look like? Just one more exhibition game to get out of the way and then it’s time for Opening Day...