The Nationals finalized their 25-man Opening Day roster Sunday. As of Saturday, the only remaining uncertainty to start the season was whether the club would carry an additional bench player. That was the case, with right-hander Joe Ross being optioned to Triple-A Syracuse since the Nats don't need a fifth
The Nationals finalized their 25-man Opening Day roster Sunday. As of Saturday, the only remaining uncertainty to start the season was whether the club would carry an additional bench player. That was the case, with right-hander Joe Ross being optioned to Triple-A Syracuse since the Nats don't need a fifth starter right away, given built-in off-days early in the schedule.
As a result, the two players that were fighting for the final roster spot, infielder Wilmer Difo and outfielder Michael Taylor, have both made the roster. That may be a sign the club is concerned with the health of third baseman Anthony Rendon, whose bruised calf may sideline him to open the season.
Washington's 25-man roster consists of 11 pitchers (four starters and seven relievers), two catchers, seven infielders and five outfielders. Twenty of the 25 are returnees from the 2016 National League East champions club.
After trying to project the Nationals' 25-man roster all spring, let's see how MLB.com's projections stacked up with what will be the team's roster to begin the season.
Bench: Adam Lind, Stephen Drew, Jose Lobaton, Chris Heisey, Taylor, Difo
Lineup: 1. Trea Turner SS, 2. Jayson Werth LF, 3. Bryce Harper RF, 4. Daniel Murphy 2B, 5. Rendon 3B, 6. Adam Eaton CF, 7. Ryan Zimmerman 1B, 8. Matt Wieters C
This could be in flux considering Rendon's injury, but if everyone is healthy, it appears as if Baker, at least initially, prefers to hit Eaton lower in the lineup instead of second to break up the string of left-handers at the top of the order.
Rotation: Stephen Strasburg, Tanner Roark, Giovany Gonzalez, Max Scherzer
The Nationals will need a fifth starter by Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia. Roark will pitch the second game of the season, followed by Gonzalez and Scherzer.
Bullpen: Blake Treinen, Shawn Kelley, Joe Blanton, Sammy Solis, Oliver Perez, Koda Glover, Enny Romero
MLB.com's predictions from the midway point in Spring Training were spot on here, as the team looks like it will not keep a long reliever and bank on the strength of its rotation. Now that the Nationals have revealed that Treinen will be their closer, the rest of their bullpen can begin to take shape, and it has a chance to be strong one.
Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.
Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.