Washington Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo talked in an MLB Network Radio interview earlier this month about the moves he made as he rebuilt 40% of the roster in preparation for what he and the rest of the front office hope will be a bounce-back campaign after a disappointing 2018 season.
“It was a fluid offseason,” Rizzo said.
“It was busy, but it was good busy. We had our marching orders from the ownership group, they allowed us the financial resources to go out and build a team that we feel really good about.
“There was a lot of negotiations back and forth, and we signed [ten] new players, different players that weren’t on the team last year, and we feel really good about our chances, and we like the mix, the balance, and the personalities on the team.”
Though he had a few tough, late decisions to make when it came to the Opening Day, 25-Man roster, Nats’ manager Davey Martinez said in his own MLB Network Radio interview he thinks the team the Nationals have assembled can compete in what everyone expects will be a competitive NL East.
“I really believe that this year, with the additions we have and the guys we had last year, as long as we stay healthy we’re going to be in great shape,” Martinez explained, noting later on in the interview that New York, Philadelphia, and Atlanta are going to be tough to beat.
“I think this is one of the best divisions in baseball, I really do. With the additions that the Mets had, the Phillies, the Braves, who won the division last year, but my focus is on the guys that we have on our ballclub, and I think if we go out there and do the things that we’re supposed to do and compete, with our pitching staff, with our defense, with our core guys that we have, I think we’ll be in good shape.”
Two new catchers, two new starters, a new second baseman, a rebuilt bullpen and new-look outfield. It’s going to be a significantly different, younger, team in 2019.
With the final cuts of the Spring on Tuesday morning, the roster was all but set, pending an official announcement from the team. That announcement came this morning.
Here’s the Washington Nationals’ 2019 Opening Day roster:
NOTES: Jake Noll is in! The surprise of the Spring is on the 25-Man roster. How long will it last? How much action will he see? Who cares, for now just congratulate him for going in and earning himself a spot with great play in Grapefruit League action. Congrats, Jake.
Wander Suero is in the bullpen, which was clear after Austen Williams was options to Triple-A Fresno, but it’s a big step for Suero, who proved versatile during his time in the majors in 2018.
No other real surprises, other than the fact that the Nationals decided to announce the 25-Man roster at 6:05 the day before the season opener, as opposed to the morning of where they’ve done so previously.
We’ll break it down by position again as we did last night after the last roster moves were announced...
Rotation: Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin, Aníbal Sánchez, Jeremy Hellickson (who’s expected to start the season in the pen until a 5th starter is needed)
Bullpen: Sean Doolittle (CL); Trevor Rosenthal, Kyle Barraclough, Tony Sipp, Matt Grace, Justin Miller, Wander Suero
Position Players: Anthony Rendon, Trea Turner, Brian Dozier, Ryan Zimmerman, Juan Soto, Victor Robles, Adam Eaton, Yan Gomes, Kurt Suzuki, Matt Adams, Wilmer Difo, Jake Noll, Andrew Stevenson.
Injured List: Howie Kendrick, Michael A. Taylor, Koda Glover