While the Washington Nationals Opening Day roster all but finalized, the only thing left to sort out is who will earn the final bullpen spots.
As we stand just nine short days away from Opening Day 2019, the Washington Nationals roster is all but a formality at this point.
That leaves the Washington bullpen. Currently, Sean Doolittle, Trevor Rosenthal, Kyle Barraclough, Tony Sipp, and Justin Miller all seem like locks to make the team. That leaves the Nationals with two open spots in their bullpen to fill.
Now in all likelihood, Washington is going to want another left-handed reliever in their bullpen, so the battle for that position will come down to Matt Grace and Vidal Nuno. If the Nationals do decide to keep three lefties in their bullpen, the decision of whom they chose will directly correlate to which right-hander gets the final bullpen spot and vice versa.
In 2018, Grace served as the Nationals long-man out of the bullpen and did an outstanding job. He pitched in multiple different spots and situations and was productive in all roles. If Washington feels that they have faith he can repeat his performance from last year and want more of a stretch-out left-handed reliever versus a matchup guy he will make the roster. If the Nationals are looking for another situational lefty to deal more with specific matchups, Nuno will be the man.
If the Nationals do pick Grace, which at the moment seems like a pretty good bet, it hinders the chance of starter/possible reliever Joe Ross making the team. This spring Ross has been solid pitching in different roles, posting a 2.53 E.R.A. in 11 innings pitched, but the biggest strength he could bring to the team is his ability to eat up innings out of the pen.
If Grace is on the team, the Nationals do not need an innings-eater/long-man and would make the final bullpen spot all but fall into the lap of Wander Suero.
I would feel pretty confident in penciling in Grace and Suero as the final two relievers in the Nationals bullpen, but if Washington feels Joe Ross can play a valuable role as a reliever, we could see some changes.