With the Washington Nationals signing of 1B Adam LaRoche yesterday, the Nats have essentially solidified their lineup for next season. Really. All that's left is to pick up a right-handed hitting utility player for the bench.
Despite all the national media insisting the Nats are still "in" on Carl Pavano, GM Mike Rizzo told Tom Boswell the other day the Nats haven't spoken with the free agent starter since the Winter Meetings.
"I hear we are 'the finalist' along with the Twins," said Rizzo, acerbically. "We've never spoken to Pavano and we haven't talked to his agent since the winter meetings."
So unless Rizzo can pull off a trade for his coveted front of the rotation starter, the Nats are probably done acquiring impact players this off-season.
Here's how the roster looks at this point.
CF Nyjer Morgan. Get used to it.
SS Ian Desmond. Look for his error total to drop this season due to maturity, not 1B defense.
3B Ryan Zimmerman. Forget protection, Zim is merely entering the prime of his career.
1B Adam LaRoche. Not a traditional cleanup hitter, but breaks up a bunch of right-handed bats.
RF Jayson Werth. Expected to be "The Man" for the first time in his career. Is he up to it?
LF Roger Bernadina. Left-handed hitting part of left field platoon, with better defense.
2B Danny Espinosa. Will win a Gold Glove if he gets 500 at bats.
C Pudge Rodriguez. Trudging his way toward 3000 hits.
OF Michael Morse. Will platoon with Bernie. Good pop off bench. Suited for this role.
OF Rick Ankiel. Nyjer Morgan insurance. Can play all three OF spots credibly. Great throwing arm.
INF Alberto Gonzalez. The General plays every infield spot--best infield arm on the team. Can't hit a lick.
C Jesus Flores or Wilson Ramos. The most interesting battle in spring training.
TBD Do the Nats use the last position player spot on PH Deluxe Matt Stairs, or find another utility guy?
RHSP Livan Hernandez. Livo is your opening day starter. Book it.
LHSP John Lannan. Hopefully he really did figure something out during his minor league stint. K rate up in second half.
RHSP Jordan Zimmermann. A full off-season working out instead of re-habbing and normal spring will do him wonders.
RHSP Jason Marquis. His spot to lose. Nats must hope he resembles old self and can flip him at deadline.
TBD Final starter spot open to competition. Maya (DWL Pitcher of the Year), Gaudin, Mock, Martin, Detwiler all candidates
CL Drew Storen. In reality, Manager Jim Riggleman will probably start with committee.
RHSU Tyler Clippard. Hopefully being overworked last season wion't have negative impact, but watch for injury.
LHSU Sean Burnett. Relievers are volatile, but Burnett was very solid last season.
RHRP Craig Stammen. Does what he's told.
LHRP Doug Slaten. He's still with the team?
RHRP Henry Rodriguez. 100-MPH fastball will see plenty of innings.
RHRP Collin Balester. Was impressive in late 2010 callup, as long as he doesn't make a habit of falling off the mound.