The wait is almost over. Washington Nationals’ players and fans have spent the offseason reflecting on a disappointing 2013 season, and hoping for better things to come. Talent wise, it is clear that the Nationals have the players necessary to have a successful season. However, to reach their collective goals, Washington must play the game unselfishly and avoid injuries.
Unfortunately, Doug Fister will begin the season on the 15 day disabled list due to a right lat strain. If there is any silver lining in the situation, it is that Tanner Roark and Taylor Jordan will both be able to begin the year with the big league club and face major league hitters.
Roark and Jordan were competing for the final spot in the starting rotation during the spring, with one being optioned to AAA Syracuse at the end of the spring. Fister’s injury buys Manager Matt Williams more time to make the decision as to who will be his fifth starter.
Aaron Barrett, a young right hander, made the Nationals’ opening day roster out of the bullpen with Ryan Mattheus, a member of last year’s major league roster, being optioned to AAA. Mattheus suffered threw a miserable 2013, as he posted a 6.37 ERA over 37 games and spent time on the DL due to a broken hand that was caused by slamming a locker.
The Nationals have two left handers in the bullpen, Ross Detwiler and Jerry Blevins, which is different from the 0 they carried for a portion of last season. Washington lost Fernando Abad from last year’s roster but acquired Blevins from the Oakland Athletic’s to fill his departed role. Detwiler, a former starter, will be the long reliever.
Washington also added utility infielder Kevin Frandsen to the 25 man roster. Frandsen was cut from the Philadelphia Phillies, and opted to test the free agent market instead of play in AAA with the Phillies organization. Frandsen will come off of the bench along with Danny Espinosa, Nate McLouth, and Jose Lobaton.
The Nationals’ 2014 roster does not appear to have a glaring whole. They enter the year with high expectations, and with the recent injuries to the Atlanta Braves, a great opportunity to win the division.