After four days off over the weekend, the Washington Nationals had yet another off-day on Thursday. However, on this off-day, the Nats had roster moves to make to trim their active roster down from the 30 that started the season to 28.
To trim the roster down, the Nationals optioned James Bourque to the team’s Alternative Training Site in Fredericksburg, as well as designating utility man Emilio Bonifácio for assignment.
The Nationals had high hopes for Bonifácio coming into the year as someone who could step into a Gerardo Parra-esque role as a 26th man who could fill a variety of roles including pinch-hitter, pinch-runner, and general good clubhouse influence.
“He’s one of those guys that brings energy every day,” manager Dave Martinez said earlier in the season.
But his performance on the field has been pretty sub-standard in his limited appearances.
His first action in a Nats uniform was as a pinch-runner in the third game of the year against the New York Yankees. As the tying run with nobody out, Bonifácio took off for third base and had the base stolen, but then slid past the bag, scuppering a scoring opportunity.
Then, in his only start for the team, he started in left field and had some miscommunication with Victor Robles on a flyball that ended up being a homer, even though Robles had a chance to pull it back. He also went 0-for-3 in the game with two strikeouts for good measure.
Now with Josh Harrison in the fold as a utility, high-character player, Bonifácio appears to have become more expendable.
There’s a chance Bonifácio could sneak through waivers and end up in Fredericksburg, ready for another chance with the Nats if they suffer a few injuries.
Meanwhile, in a bullpen that was off to a strong start this season, Bourque seemed like one of those on the bubble. Not that it was his own fault, it was just that others have come in and impressed right out of the gate.
In his two appearances this season, Bourque posted a scoreless inning against the Yankees and a scoreless third of an inning against the Toronto Blue Jays in a 5-1 defeat.
Expect to see the right-hander back later on this year if and when the Nationals’ relief corps needs an additional arm, as he didn’t really do anything to suggest that he won’t be the first man back up in the bullpen if it needs some extra depth.
Following an agreement with MLB and the MLBPA yesterday, the active roster will now stay at 28 for the rest of the season as opposed to the initially agreed drop to 26 that would’ve occurred in two weeks.
#Nats’ roster down to 28: The #Nationals have optioned RHP James Bourque to the Alternate Training Site (Fredericksburg) and have designated INF/OF Emilio Bonifácio for assignment.— federalbaseball (@federalbaseball) August 6, 2020