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.
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.