Now just 20 days away from their Opening Day matchup with the Atlanta Braves, the Nationals are starting to figure things out. We're starting to sense some trends and are slowly getting a better idea as to what our 40-man roster will look like, come March 30.
Sure, there's plenty of time left and changes to be made. There's still a good quantity of guys that are being evaluated, with management looking to see if they can contribute to the Nationals this year. While we can't be certain about their future with Washington, we can still make some educated guesses about some of the Non-Roster invitees to Nationals' camp this season.
Note: Last week, we looked at some Minor League options for the Nationals this season. With the exception of one name, those won't be included here.
Matt Adams, 1B
A familiar face in Washington, Adams has had a rocky last few seasons in the majors. Since leaving the Nationals in 2019, he's appeared in only 38 games during stints with the Atlanta Braves and Colorado Rockies.
Power is Adams' game: in his last three (full) seasons, Adams posted at least 70 hits and 20 home runs. With a career .306 OBP, Adams is a "middle of the road" sort of guy. At 34 years old, clearly Adams believes that there's something left in the tank.
When asked about his hiatus from the majors, Adams told MLB.com that “Obviously, I’m a competitor, and I was kind of bummed that I didn’t get anything after the 2021 season,” Adams said. “But the way that I think, I knew that -- for whatever reason -- this is going to be my path, it’s going to be my story, I’m going to own it.”
He goes on to say “Got the deal done, and now I can just focus on my training and making sure I’m ready to hit the ground running once spring starts".
A spot on the major league roster isn't guaranteed for Adams, but you better believes he's going to do all that he can to come away with a spot. While it still remains early, I can certainly see the Nationals' calling his name if and when they want to add some pop back into their lineup.
Alex Colomé, RHP
If you read last week's article about potential help from the minors, you'll notice Colomé was on that list too. That's because I believe that if he doesn't make the 40-man roster, the Nationals could certainly keep him around and fresh in case he's needed. However, that doesn't necessarily mean that he won't have a shot at making the roster.
Colomé is a 10 year MLB vet with recent stops in Chicago (White Sox), Minnesota, and Colorado. His last few seasons have been rocky, the fact that he is still receiving interest from major league clubs says something about the 34 old.
He's certainly not what he used to be: he was an All-Star in 2016 with Tampa Bay, and led the league in saves during his next season. However, his recent ERA's (4.15 & 5.74, respectively) have certainly brought him back down to earth.
I certainly think that the Nationals could call his number if we sustain an injury in our bullpen, or if Mike Rizzo believes that the team could use solid veteran pitching to help this young team try and win some games.
Yadiel Hernández, OF
Certainly a familiar name for Nationals fans, Hernández has been a staple of the Nationals' lineup for the last two seasons, appearing in 206 games. Totaling 154 and 18 home runs in his last two campaigns, there's a reason why Hernández could be found on Davey Martinez's lineup card most games.
However, something that you might not have realized is that Hernández is actually 35 years old. This is surprising because last season was only his 3rd in the majors; he had been between teams in the minors since 2009-10.
Back to the premise of this article: do I think there is a chance Hernández suits up for the Nationals this year? The answer, to me, is a no; however not an overwhelming one.
The Nationals have seen what Hernández has brought to the table. However, now that the direction of this franchise has become crystal clear, it's also become clear that Hernández is not a part of what the Nationals are trying to do. The only way I could see Hernández playing in Washington this season is if Mike Rizzo and Davey Martinez decide that this team could use a veteran presence that can hit, or if this team is really short on players.
Sean Doolittle, LHP
Sean Doolittle loves DC, and DC loves Sean Doolittle. We know what he brings to the table, and he could be the veteran lefty that the Nationals need, or also could just be the "glue guy", the one who keeps the locker room light and cheery (I find myself picturing Gerardo Parra from a few years back).
We've mentioned a few veteran bullpen arms that the Nationals might be interested in. However something about Doolittle feels different. Maybe it's his relationships with management and players, his loyalty to the city, or maybe it's because he's a member of the 2019 World Series team.
You can choose to believe what you'd like, but I believe there's a pretty good chance he's back with Washington in the majors this season.
Here are some former major leaguers that you might recognize who are at spring training with the Nationals right now. These guys certainly have a chance to make the Nationals roster, however I'm not exactly sure if they will myself.
1. Chad Kuhl, RHP
30 year old RHP that averages a 4.74 ERA for his career. Gave up 155 hits and 25 home runs. However he did throw a complete game shut-out last season.
2. Michael Chavis, IF
While he put up solid numbers with Pittsburgh last season, Chavis is a 27-year-old trying to grab a roster spot on a team with a very young infield that promises to play guys like CJ Abrams, Luis Garcia and one of Dom Smith/Joey Meneses every day. Not completely ruling it out, just doesn't seem likely.
3. Wily Peralta, RHP
Peralta joins Washington's spring training after spending two years with the Tigers. His numbers are certainly decent, however I feel as if the Nationals aren't in a place where they could be adding two veteran pitchers, both Peralta and Colomé. So, if you believe that Peralta has a better chance than
Colomé, than maybe he'll grab a roster spot instead.
All statistics via baseball-reference.com.