A look at the Nationals’ 2011 Major League roster

Here’s a look at the Nationals’ 2011 Major League roster: Who stays, who goes, who has something to prove?

They’ll Be Back

LHP Sean Burnett: It was a tale of two seasons for Burnett. He was inconsistent during the first half, but was back to his old self after the All-Star Break, going 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA.

RHP Tyler Clippard: He was clearly the best pitcher on the team. Clippard made his first All-Star appearance, had a 1.93 ERA and struck out 104 batters in 88 1/3 innings.

SS Ian Desmond: Told by manager Davey Johnson to stop going to right field on every pitch, Desmond ended up having a productive second half, hitting .289 with a .338 on-base percentage. The big question is, will Desmond leadoff next year? Probably not, but keep in mind that he hit .281 while hitting in the top spot this past season.

2B Danny Espinosa: He is the best defensive second baseman in baseball. Johnson called Espinosa the strongest player on the team. However, Espinosa must cut down on his strikeouts and improve his hitting from the left side of the plate.

LHP Tom Gorzelanny: He prefers to start, but he has found his niche as a long man. Gorzelanny had a 2.42 ERA in that role this past season.

LHP John Lannan: The steady left-hander most likely will be the third starter in the rotation.

RHP Ryan Mattheus: Johnson relied heavily on Mattheus until the latter had shoulder issues, which forced him to miss almost a month of the season. Mattheus came back in late September and is expected to be used in the late innings next season.

OF/1B Michael Morse: He was clearly the MVP of the team. He led Washington in homers, RBIs and batting average. Johnson made it known that Morse will most likely start next season in the outfield.

C Wilson Ramos: In his first full season in the big leagues, Ramos was solid behind the plate and with the bat.

RHP Henry Rodriguez: The Nationals are grooming him to be a backup closer. They are hoping Rodriguez can duplicate what he did during the month of September in which he had a 2.19 ERA with 14 strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings.

RHP Stephen Strasburg: He has fully recovered from elbow construction, but will be on an innings limit next year.

RF Jayson Werth: He has six years left on his contract. The Nationals are hoping he can go back to being the productive player that he was with the Phillies.

3B Ryan Zimmerman: Once he fully recovered from abdominal surgery, Zimmerman looked like the player that won the Gold Glove in 2009.

RHP Jordan Zimmermann: He will not be on an innings limit next year and is expected to join Strasburg as a 1-2 combination in the rotation.

Something to prove

RHP Collin Balester: Inconsistency had him spending a lot of time in the Minor Leagues. He could be a long man out of the bullpen.

OF Corey Brown: He wasn’t impressive in the Minor Leagues and a knee injury limited him to just three at-bats after his September call up to the big leagues.

INF Steve Lombardozzi: He wasn’t given much of a chance to play after his September call up and it will be hard for him to make the big-league team because of Desmond and Espinosa.

RHP Yunesky Maya: He hasn’t pitched well ever since signing a four-year $8 million contract in 2010. It will be tough for him to be part of the rotation next year.

LHP Tommy Milone: Mr. Control walked a combined 20 batters in 174 1/3 innings for Triple A Syracuse and the Nationals. He could be a big asset in the Major League rotation in 2012.

RHP Brad Peacock: He had a great September, and will be given every chance to make the rotation next year.

LHP Atahualpa Severino: Appeared in six games, but it’s not enough to judge his performance. He will be given a chance to make the team out of Spring Training.

RHP Craig Stammen: He did an excellent job after his September call up, allowing no runs in 8 1/3 innings, but he has to show that consistency throughout the season.

They have a chance to walk, but

OF Rick Ankiel: A popular player because of his spectacular defense in center field, Ankiel could be back as a fourth outfielder.

RHP Todd Coffey: He does more than just sprint to the mound. He was valuable pitcher in the late innings.

OF Jonny Gomes: He has a big heart and plays hard all the time, but he strikes out too much. He is a Type B free agent and it will be interesting to see if the Nationals offer him arbitration.

OF/1B Laynce Nix: He was productive during first half, but injuries forced him to miss a lot of time after the All-Star break. If he comes back, Nix will be a bench player.

RHP Chien-Ming Wang: He is loyal to the Nationals because they stuck by him when he was hampered by shoulder problems for two years. He is expected to be back with the team next year.

All But Gone

INF Brian Bixler: Played solid defense, but didn’t provide a lot of punch off the bench.

INF Alex Cora: Provided leadership to the young players, but that’s about it.

RHP Livan Hernandez: He is willing to be a long man out of the bullpen, but going into next season, Gorzelanny is expected to be that guy.

C Ivan Rodriguez: He wants to play four more years and collect career hit No. 3,000. It will not happen in a Nationals uniform.

LHP Doug Slaten: Missed most of the season because of an elbow injury. When he returned in September, Slaten was hit hard.

Possible Trade Chips

OF Roger Bernadina: He is no longer considered an everyday player. If he stays with the organization, Bernadina will be a corner outfielder.

LHP Ross Detwiler: Before the non-waiver trade deadline, the Astros wanted Detwiler among others for outfielder Michael Bourn. General manager Mike Rizzo turned it down.

C Jesus Flores: His days as an everyday player with the Nationals are over because of Ramos.

1B Chris Marrero: Hitting was never a problem for him, but he improved dramatically on defense, which used to be a problem after he was selected in the first round in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.

RHP Drew Storen: His name was mentioned in trade rumors last summer. Rizzo would want a solid leadoff hitter in return for a guy, who saved 43 games this past season.

The Injured

RHP Cole Kimball: Missed most of the season because of a shoulder injury. He likely will not be back on a Major League mound until after the All-Star break.

1B Adam LaRoche: A shoulder injury forced him to miss most of the ’11 season, but he is expected to be 100 percent by Spring Training.

56 Comments

What about John Lannan?

Did Lahnan disappear?

He is there. Look again.

Here today, gone tomorrow.

Gone to that great Pittsburgh in the sky, hopefully as part of a deal for the Pirate’s center fielder or some other outfielder who can hit. Crazy to move Mike Morse off of first after such a successful season. I believe Laynce Nix can be the man in LF. Rick Ankiel in CF.

I want the Nats to give bernadina a full season to show what he can do, like Morse. I would have preferred that season to be this season tho, so i think it would be in his best interest to traded to a team that actually values him for as much as he is really worth.

He is the king of inconsistency ,I doubt we can get anything, he is triple a talent

Mike Morse wasn’t there all season. It took Adam LaRoche being badly injured to make Riggleman play Morse at first base. Never forget that.

May be riggleman did not see the true value in morse, now Mr. Johnson has, and we’ve seen what he can do, i wish the intire staff of the nationals were with you, then my team, te orioles would pick him off cheap from you.

I don’t know what they can get for Storen, but it better be someone who is a game changer in my opinion.

FWIW, I don’t see Gorzo and his possible large pricetag as a “They’ll Be Back” as he could possibly be non-tendered. I don’t think that is the case but I don’t see him as a “lock”.

I also think it is somewhat irresponsible to list any of the “trade bait” players unless you have personal knowledge that they are on the block—lets face it, just about any GM will listen to a deal.

I see Storen, Detwiler, and Flores as “locks” for the roster.

why ivan can’t come back?

Because, if you are going to carry 3 catchers, one of them needs to be a rookie, not a 40-something. Once he retires, he may be back as a minor league manager. Get his ticket punched there, and he’ll move to some coaching role in the bigs. Johnson is in his 80s If Pudge had a little bit of experience as a minor league manager and some success there he would get a serious look if anything happens to Davey.

Trading Storen would be really stupid. As for Lannan, I’d prefer to see him under trade chips.

This is all true, from my view (as an orioles fan) lannen is a good trade chip, the orioles may actulley track him down, i think you could get 3B Josh Bell, P Matt mobgood, and maybe Rhyne Hughs, and a PTBL, not a great one though

ONLY if They can get somebody who is a likely Sy Young winner! Otherwise hold on to Lannen! They don’t need to trade someone that good to get the hitting they need.

Pudge Will Be back, trading storen would be stupid, l think livan will be back

Trading Detwiler would be C-R-A-Z-Y.

Get rid of Lannan , keep Livo for long relief, dump Bixler and Cora, use Lambardozzi in Cora’s place. Go after a real top of rotation pitcher and a hard hitying outfielder. Sit Werth if he doesn’t produce by mid-May.

DO… NOT… TRADE… STOREN…

I’m surprised Storen is on your list. If he isn’t the closer, who is it going to be? The Nats would have to trade or pay heavily for someone to replace him. I just don’t see Tyler doing it. Look at the competing team in the playoffs. Got to have a quality closer.

Otherwise, I like Lannan on the trade list. We need to make some room in the rotation beyond Livo.

The O’s desperately need pitching. How about some combination of Lannan, Stammen, Balester or Marrero for Adam Jones?

Yes, Pitching is needed by the orioles, but Adam Jones likley will not be sold, add bernidena and go get the dodgers to give you Matt kemp, the nationals need a leadoff center feilder, ask any of my oriole fan buddies, that is not Adam jones, its been tried, that exparemt failed horribly, it was like watching a person with no training be forced to do open heart surgrey, it just did not work out well. a better option is BJ Upton, acutulley for sale, same or slightly less power, better base stealing, lower price,
I will put this very clear if Adam jones i traded at all look out your window, pigs will propebly be flying, and some one’s lawn mower will be driving a mini van to pick up its kids from soccer practice, and a Grizzly Bear will have bought the dodgers.And there will be a dinasore handing out flaming ice cream cones, that is how likley adam jones will be traded.

Trust ME I KNOW WHAT I MEAN IS CORRECT, The nat’s ought to go out get BJ Upton, and Andre Either(he’ll be available, the dodjers need to drop him or kemp itll be him, and left feild is ok for him) sign prince feilder, if the orioles dont first! add in cj wilson for good measure

Best trade would be Lannan and Bernadina for quality starter or CF’er

Bill, Great summary. My thoughts agreed on about 90%. DONOT trade Storen. Clip and Drew will lead team to next level. Flores will be the backup catcher and he is OK with that I have read. Lannan for Brent Gardner has been in the news. Good idea if Yanks buy it. They should after playoff lose. Detwiler is ready to take Lannan’s spot in the rotation. I wish Pudge would accept the bench coach job with the Nats. Sorry to Livo go but Nats have 6 or 7 good young starters ready for 2012. I am looking forward to next season. Cannot wait.

I don’t think the Nationals are giving Roger Bernadina a fair shot and he has shown a great glove in CF. How many players do the Nationals have that can bunt for a base hit? Which Nationals player will be able to steal about 40 bases? Many times I think an over looked fact is: little things help win pennants: bunting runners over, stealing bases, doing the squeeze play. This shows that your an aggressive team and putting pressure on the other team. Remember when the Fl. Marlins had Juan Pierre and Luis Castillo and won a title?

It makes no sense to trade Storren. This is a pitcher who saved 43 games. I feel like we have established the 8th inning in Clippard and the closer in Storen for next year. If we breau-up this combination, we are destroying what we worked so hard to established during the 2011 season.
About the other moves, who is going to be the back-up catcher? I feel like Flores should remain as well as Pudge. Are we trading for a center fielder? The outfielders are set wth Morse in left and Worth in right; we are missing a center fielder if Ankiel does not return. I see a lot of holes in this line-up.

All the players except the over the hill gang, is what one would say is a major league team.So lets keep everyone intact wait for spring training, the best 25 goes north.Remember Captain Hook will be the manager he’ll be going through pitchers like bags of snuff!

No, no, no, and NO on trading Storen. Such a high quality closer is too hard to find and he fits into the organization beautifully. His work ethic can’t be beat and he’s a kid, fer cryin’ out loud, with YEARS of valuable service ahead of him. So here we have this kid who is already one of the best closers in the game and hasn’t even reached his full potential and we’re supposed to trade him? No way. We need him.

It’s time for Pudge to go and I wish him well. Same for Livo. I think Bernadina would have been a lot more consistent if he hadn’t been packing a round trip ticket for the season chugging back and forth between majors and minors. The guy never knew where he was going to be playing the next week.

The Nat’s are loaded with young pitching talent. It will be interesting to see how this off-season develops. Tommy Milone has proven himself at each level and he was very successful in his five starts at the major league level, keeping his team in all of his games (Note: the Nat’s won all five of his starts). I think Milone should be given an opportunity to pitch a full season with the big club. In the minor league levels, he’s proven to be an innings-eater. He comes a lot cheaper than Lanan, with similar stuff and Lanan’s success is a valuable chip for a trade with another team. I’d also keep Storen. The kid can flat-out close games and we need this to be a contender in the East. Man, is it Spring yet? Let’s get 2012 underway because the Nat’s are now a team that can win and challenge for the East (or, at least the wildcard).

I agree with some of the other comments. Storen is one of the core group that this franchise is building around. He’s in the wrong category in this article. He’s a big time keeper. Lannan led the starters in wins and ERA and is a lefty. No reason to move him, either. Like the writer wrote, he’ll be in the rotation next spring. As soon as they come to an agreement with Wang, he should also be in the rotation. The pitching is shaping up very nicely for next spring. I imagine Detwiler will be the 5th starter, while the two young guys with options, will start the year in AAA. I could see them coming up in July to give the Nats fresh arms for the last two months of the season.

Other pitchers worth keeping, IMO, are Matheus, Stammen, HRod, Coffey, Gorzo. Not sure about Kimball. He seemed okay before he was injured. Agree with another commenter that Lombardozzi would fit the utility spot.

1.Strasburg
2.Zimmermann
3.Lannan
4.Milone
5.Detwiler/Peacock

What do you think?
Also, although Jesus Flores got better as the season went on, he is not nearly as good behind the plate. I think we should look elsewhere for a backup.

Trade Bryce Harper, Chris Marrero, and Drew Storen for Curtis Granderson and Mark Texiera

I believe the Nats will come to terms with Mr. Wang and he will be in the rotation next season. Also expect to see Detwiler in the rotation. The two young guys have minor league options and will more than likely start the season in AAA. Storen is too valuable to the team to be traded. The Nats want to see how Harper pans out. Marrero is a legitimate trade chip.

Nats need someone that can hit with RISP. Leave Morse at 1B!!! Sign Ankiel for CF, Werth at RF, and make a big splash at LF in Free agency. Nats have huge assets and many fans already are starting not to like Bryce Harper. TRADE BAIT!

Pitching is too hard to come by to trade at this point. Marrero is expendable as is Bernadino with talent on the farm. Corey Brown has not impressed at all.
Centerfield is a problem and outfield defense is hurt if Morse is in lf and Werth is in cf. Unfortunately Rizzo likes Upton who has slid in production every year since 2008. BJ has an attitude problem and would not help this club.
Keep building from within until 2013 and then add the piece or pieces needed to fill out a winning lineup.

They wont trade Storen, that would be the dumbest move in history.

Werth has something to prove and Marrero does not. A contract does not win ball games. If necessary let Werth sit at home on salary. Win!

I would be perfectly happy to stay with the current pitching. I don’t think the Nats should spend a fortune for Wilson or trade away the future for a pitcher.

Kemp and other big name players would cost too much in our stock of players, and frankly, we do not need to make a panic trade.

We critically need to cut down on strikeouts. We are OK in center defensively if we keep Ankiel. What we must have to compete is a higher on base percentage. I would like to see the Nats work out a trade for a high on base outfielder. Center is the logical place. We’ve got to figure out how to get Espi and Desi to make contact much more often as well. It would help a lot if Morse and Werth cut down on strikeouts also. Not sure Eck can do this. With Davy, the pitching we have and more contact at the plate, the Nats will compete in 2012, Simple as that.

With Howard out 6 months to a year, the Phils could come calling about Laroche. As could San Diego or the Brewers. The Nationals should listen to any offers. If the team trades Storen, I will die a little on the inside. Detwiler should come back as the 5th starter, with Peacock and Wang in the mix for the 4th. Marrero is also a trade chip, and I think Morse is better suited for 1st. And people need to stop thinking the Nats will trade Harper, its not going to happen, so learn to love his spunk.

With the Nats current roster Peacock is clearly the third best starter. Here is the rotation barring a trade for a number 1.

1. Strasburg
2. Zimmermann
3. Peacock
4. Detwiler
5. Wang/Lannan

Millone is limited as a SP in my opinion. He struggled the second time through the order. I think he will turn out to be our lefty specialist out of the pen. Eiher Wang or Lannan would be my long guy although I don’t know if either would accept that demotion

I agree with everyone that said keep Storen. I would also keep Coffey and Clippard I would be willing to part with Marrero and Flores. Put Morse back at 1B. I don’t have a good answer for CF although Bernadina is the best option on the 40 man IMO.

100% true

Bernadina, Desmond, Lombardozi, Lannan all fall in the category of major leaguers who are adequate. What a championship team needs is great players– not adequate ones. Rizzo needs to be able to identify the young players who are going to be great players and give up the adequate ones to get them. Thats how the great teams are made up– a number of great players surrounded by an adequate supporting cast– and you need great pitching… something we are slowly seeing happen.

Dennis

How about going after free agent Coco Crisp for center field/leadoff hitter? .275 career hitter, stole 49 bases last year in Oakland.

Coco has a weak arm and is injury prone.

I think a lot of you are missing the main point here – If the Nats are going to compete, they cannot have guys in the lineup like Bernadina, Lannan, Nix, Ankiel, etc. I agree 100% with what Rizzo has said – “We are an outfielder and starting pitcher away from being a contender.” I love Storen, but if trading him is what it’s going to take to get an elite CF then so be it. Clip can take over the closer role and Rodriguez can set him up. Our offense was bad last year! We need to improve our OBP and starting pitching. Sign CC or CJ and trade for a CF and we will be playoff bound in 2012.

What’s wrong with Lannan? He led the starters in wins and ERA. Moving Clippard and Hrod up and acting as if the Nats wouldn’t skip a beat is wishful thinking.

Lannan is decent. That’s all. Just decent.

Lannan is a good number 3 or 4 starter and has several years major league experience. Milone and Peacock both looked good but I see them starting next season in AAA since they have options left. Definitely, DO NOT trade Storen. MPH Rod is still to unpredictable as far as his control goes.

The Phillies wanted Michael Morse last spring. Since he is now proven at 1st base and Howard is down they could be calling about him and not LaRoache.

In what alternate universe would trading Drew Storen be a good idea? Albert Pujols is the best hitter in baseball, and I wouldn’t trade Storen for him. Elite pitchers are rare as hen’s teeth, and Storen fits that billing. He’s probably one of the top five closers in baseball. No GM in his right mind would trade him.

I’ve been watching the division and championship series. While there has been some great pitching, the Nats pitching staff, as is, looks every bit as good as any of the staffs I’ve seen this fall.

Why would the Nats trade Drew Storen. With his age , fastball, 43 saves, things should only get better from him. Also, who would be the back-up catcher to Ramos next year? And last but not least, if Morse and Werth in the outfield w/ a shot that Bryce Harper is only a short time away (possible mid-season next year) would the Nats trade for a CF? KEEP Ankiel and let it ride!!

When Chris Marrero was in Potomac, he used to shun all of the kids that asked him for baseballs at the end of an inning and throw them instead to a bunch of 20-somethings. When he went to Harrisburg, he did the same thing. It got so ridiculous that the young men who caught the balls started handing them to the little kids who were dissed. I hope he fails and is replaced on the roster by someone who knows how to treat the fans. Other than watching the Nationals win, it gave me great joy as a season ticket holder to watch Marrero fail time and time again in the clutch.

Interesting story if true.
Marrero showed no power, and I thought Power was why the Nats drafted him. He has only about 16 HRs per 500 plate appearances in 5+ years in the MINORS, and a goose egg in his 110+ plate appearances in the majors. By comparison, LaRoche is about 21/500 in the MAJORS. Marrero’s defense has been coached up to “barely adequate” – no more. Gimme LaRoche or Morse any day. Trade Marrero while he still looks like “potential.”

I can’t believe anyone would consider trading Storen. He saved more than half the Nationals wins in his first full year as the closer, should only get better, and is under their control for several more seasons. Look what happens to teams whose closer gets hurt or is otherwise not there (see the Phillies) in the playoffs, and what happens to teams whose closer is extremely reliable (see the Cardinals).

Storen should be closing for the Nats until he retires. No reason to trade him.
Lombardozzi is just not ready. Keep him in the minors until management gets sick of Desmond then move Espinosa to SS and put Lom to 2B. (Complete guess there.)
Re-sign Ankiel, Coffey, and Wang. Wang could be our 5th starter.
Release Gomes, Nix, and Pudge and the rest from the article.
See what Kimball has got. He was doing good until he got hurt.
Personally I can’t stand Burnett. Every time he came out to pitch, I held my breath.
Burnadina will never get a shot on the Nats. Trade him now to get something we need.
…..and of course we are going to get all the great FA out there!! (trying to be funny”)
Get Pujols or Fielder. Trade LaRoche. Get C.J. Wilson. Sweet lefty!

Starting 5:
1. Zimmerman (he earned it.)
2. C.J. Wilson (In my fantasy world, he signs with us!)
3. Strasburg (he needs to stay in the 3rd spot until next year.)
4. Lannan (everytime I yelled at the TV at him, the next time he pitched, he threw a jem. One more year to prove himself.)
5. Wang (arm was just coming around. very dangerous pitcher.)
Put Milone or Peacock in for Strasburg when his innings expire.
If we need help at the trade deadline, trade Lannan and move Milone or Peacock in his spot. If we don’t get Wilson, Peacock or Milone will be starting.

Starting 9:
1. Desmond SS (until we get speedy outfielder, he’s bats first.)
2. Werth CF
3. Zimmermann 3B
4. Fielder 1B
5. Morse CF
6. Espinosa 2B
7. Ramos C
8. Whomever plays RF.
9. pitcher.
Bring up Harper mid-season. Put him in the 8th spot batting and if he does good, move him to 2nd spot. If we don’t get Fielder or Pujols, LaRoche bats 5th and Morse goes to 4th.

Seems very easy! Why can’t the Nats management see this! :)

You obviously did not watch CJ Wilson in the3 WS. Detwiler is the 5th starter. Batting order depends on the opposition starting pitcher!

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