With Spring Training kicking off on Sunday, it’s worth noting which players on the current Nationals’ roster are out of options heading into the 2012 season. These players will be faced with an extra factor playing into the decision to keep them on the roster, as the organization will risk losing any of them through waivers should they try to send them down to the minor leagues at any point this season.
According to MLB Trade Rumors, the Nationals appear to have five players who fall into the category of “out of options”. They are:
Clippard is easily the safest of the group, as his place near the back end of Washington’s bullpen seems relatively set in stone. But, beyond him there is uncertainty surrounding the other names on this list.
Detwiler’s fate will depend largely on how the rotation battle shapes up through Spring Training. Should he lose out on a rotation spot, he could very well serve as the left-handed long relief option, pushing Gorzelanny out of the bullpen. One could make an argument to keep both pitchers, but at first glance that seems like an unnecessary luxury. The team already has Sean Burnett in place at the primary left-hander out of the bullpen and there really only is a need for one long relief option considering the limitations of the 25-man roster.
Rodriguez is probably an early favorite to land one of the bullpen spots, though there are no guarantees. He’s a power arm with a great deal of potential but he’s never been able to live up to it over the course of his career to date. However, there’s enough potential that another organization could potentially take a chance and pluck him off waivers should he be made available in the event that the Nationals try to send him to the minor leagues.
Bernadina is the last player out of options, and another one who’s future with the organization remains in flux. He’s also one of just four outfielders on the team’s current 40-man roster. However, he’ll find himself in a battle for playing time this Spring along with a number of players signed to minor league contracts (Rick Ankiel and Mike Cameron, just to name two). Depending on what direction the organization wants to go at the start of the season, Bernadina may find himself as the odd man out and in jeopardy of losing his spot on the roster.