According to the Washington Post’s Adam Kilgore, the Nationals will add first baseman Chris Marrero to their roster for tomorrow’s doubleheader against the Twins. MLB rules allow teams to add a 26th player to the active roster for doubleheaders, the role he would appear to fill at first glance. Marrero has hit .303/.355/.502 at AAA Syracuse this year, finally looking somewhat like the prospect who was drafted 15th overall all the way back in 2006. He has only played 31 major league games, all of which came in 2011. He hit .248/.274/.294 and looked like he could compete for a major league job in Spring Training 2012, but hurt his hamstring and missed the first half of the season.
However, even though it would make sense for Marrero to just come up for a day, the most interesting part of this is that Kilgore also reports that it “sounds like Chris Marrero will be with the Nats for more than just tomorrow.” With his production and the lineup’s lack thereof, this is not a huge surprise. However, there are lots of questions to be asked about it. Who will be sent down in his place? The leading candidate would be Tyler Moore, former AAA first baseman who is hitting .149 this season. Both he and Marrero are righties, so Marrero could replace him perfectly in terms of role. However, Moore did not appear in today’s game. Why would the Nats choose to demote him now?
Coincidentally or not, the other player Marrero could replace did appear in today’s game. Chad Tracy was 0-1 as a pinch hitter, dropping his season average to .143. But Tracy is much less similar to Marrero as a player than Moore is. Tracy hits left-handed, the only lefty currently on the bench. He also serves as the team’s backup third baseman, while Marrero has not played any position but first base since he was 18 at High A Potomac. While Moore plays left field almost exclusively, Marrero could likely handle the position if need be.
The least likely and worst scenario for Marrero’s callup would be an injury to Adam LaRoche. There was no indication that LaRoche was hurt, but if he was for some reason, a Marrero would be the first move the Nats would make. Whatever the reason is, it’ll be interesting to see what happens with his return to the bigs.