Early in Spring Training this year, Washington Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez said he was interested in watching outfielder Donovan Casey in the truncated, three-week build-up that began once Major League Baseball and the MLB Players’ Association agreed on a new CBA.
“I’m going to watch him play and see where he’s at. But I know that we like him a lot and he is definitely going to be part of our future whether it’s Opening Day, whether it’s the middle of the season, whether it’s at the end of the season, but we’re definitely going to keep close eyes on him,” the manager said.
Casey, who turned 26 this past February, was one of four prospects acquired by the Nats in the trade deadline deal last July which brought the outfielder, right-handed starters Josiah Gray and Gerardo Carrillo, and catcher Keibert Ruiz over from Los Angeles and sent both a couple months of Max Scherzer and a year-plus of Trea Turner to the Dodgers.
Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo, who made the difficult decision to trade both Scherzer and Turner in the deal, was asked earlier this spring about the possibility of having Gray, Ruiz, and Casey all at the major league level at some point this year, and the optics, for fans, of having all three of them on the big league roster so soon after an organization-altering move, one of several the club made last July 30th to kick off their reboot.
“Well, I think that was part of our plan,” Rizzo explained.
“That was our blueprint to contend in the very near future, and we made all the trades that we made, for the most part, for players that were close to the big leagues, and I think that’s just going to expedite us getting back into that championship-caliber window that we’re all aspiring to get to.”
Before last night’s game, reports emerged that Casey had been called up from the Triple-A Rochester, where he finished with the organization last year and started again this spring.
The call came after veteran Dee Strange-Gordon was scratched from the lineup before the start of the series opener.
“He was sick. We sent him home. That’s all I can say about it,” Martinez said when asked to explain what happened to Strange-Gordon in his post-game presser from PNC.
Gordon remained at the hotel in Pittsburgh, and the manager said they would have more information on a corresponding move, if necessary, today.
This morning, the club officially announced the move, though without any clarification as to what’s ailing Strange-Gordon.
Casey is with the team, and he’ll be available for the second of four tonight, and will make his MLB debut whenever he gets in a game.