- Bronson Arroyo will have a real opportunity to make the Nationals roster, writes Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post. Arroyo had the chance for a near-guaranteed job with the rebuilding Reds. He opted to join the contending Nationals in part because new manager Dusty Baker and others in the organization are familiar with him. Said Arroyo, “I tend to be the type of guy who’s not gonna wow you with my bullpens.” He explained that his personal brand of consistency over flashiness takes time for scouts to evaluate. Health remains a concern for the veteran. he felt pain in his elbow when rehabbing last year, although scar tissue was blamed for the discomfort. Arroyo will apparently compete with Tanner Roark for the fifth starter job.
- A future Nationals rotation member, Lucas Giolito, won’t be making the opening day rotation, writes Janes. Instead, he’ll take time this spring to familiarize himself with the habits of veterans like Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Gio Gonzalez. He’s expected to begin the season in Double-A and could be on the short list for call ups if injuries befall the starting five. His goal is to reach the majors this season, but that could be out of his hands if the starting five pitch well.
- Two minor league signings, Matt Belisle and Burke Badenhop, will also have a legitimate shot to earn a job, writes Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com. Four relievers are locked into jobs – Jonathan Papelbon, Shawn Kelley, Oliver Perez, and Yusmeiro Petit. Sophomores Felipe Rivero and Trevor Gott can be optioned to the minors if they don’t outperform their veteran competition. Even if both make the bullpen, that could mean there is one spot for Badenhop or Belisle. Of course, the loser of the rotation battle – Arroyo or Roark – may also find themselves in the bullpen.
- In typical free-agent-to-be form, Strasburg tells reporters he isn’t thinking about what’s next, relays Bill Ladson of MLB.com. He’s looking to bounce back from a mixed season that included fantastic peripherals (10.96 K/9, 1.84 BB/9) and a disappointing 3.46 ERA. So long as he remains healthy, he’s in line for a possible record setting contract. Interestingly, Strasburg’s spot may eventually default to Giolito next season.