Nov 212013
 

A couple of mild surprises this year as the Nationals dropped a pair of journeymen lefties in favor of adding RHP Aaron Barrett, LHP Sammy Solis, and OF Michael Taylor to the 40-man roster to avoid exposure to the Rule 5 draft next month.

Barrett was probably the lesser of the two surprises, given his age (almost 26) and function (reliever). As noted yesterday, Barrett seemed a possibility due to the precedent of Erik Davis a year ago, but with his merely average fastball velocity (low 90s) there was reason for doubt. His plus slider — rated as the best in the organization by Baseball America for two years’ running — was apparently deemed to valuable to risk losing.

Even without a strong AFL campaign, chances were Solis would have been protected. The question now is how much longer they’ll wait for him to develop into a starter, especially after not one but two lefthanded relievers were jettisoned. With zero AA experience, and only one year removed from Tommy John surgery, the odds are still good that he’ll pitch every fifth day in Harrisburg for at least a couple of months next season.

Taylor was a bit of a shock because there’s no question that his hitting tools are not major-league ready. It’s possible another team would have taken him, but it’s highly improbable they would have kept him. What now occurs to me — and should have previously — is that his addition gives the team leverage in any possible trade scenario involving either Denard Span or Brian Goodwin. Of course, Occam’s Razor also suggests that the team simply covets his skillset and wanted to eliminate any possible disruption to their plans for him in 2014.

  14 Responses to “Barrett, Solis & Taylor Added To 40-Man Roster”

  1. Luke, you’ve encapsulated my thoughts perfectly. Barrett and Solis make sense. Surely, there’s another team like the Rockies out there that would look to use Solis like Rosenbaum last year. The difference is Solis has actually posted solid numbers (albeit in injury-shortened period. Given Solis’ health, any tinkering with Solis could be potentially very harmful.

    But Taylor’s inclusion is odd to me. He’s something like 8th on the CF depth chart (Span, Harper, Perez, Brown, Kobernus, Goodwin, Burns, THEN Taylor- just off the top of my head). He stands absolutely no chance of featuring on the MLB roster for at least another 2 years. For example, his major league projections (based on minor league stats) suggest he’d hit .200/.251/.294 in the majors. That looks very optimistic, and even with very good defense that’s not useful. But then again, the Houston Astros and Miami Marlins are stocked with 12 guys with stats like that.

  2. Will; look at it another way.

    If you’re the Astros, Marlins or whoever and already have a 4th or 5th outfielder that’s going to produce stats that are only 20 or 30% better than that – ie still well sub-average – would you not want to pick up an already gold-glove caliber CF who’s 22 years old, has power potential and 50SB+ speed? If, by the time he’s 27, there’s a chance he’ll hit .260 / .320 / .450 with gold glove defence and 40+SB’s, then that sounds like a pretty good major league player to me.

    All for $50k just now?

    I’m a buyer…. ;)

    • Given that Taylor has never been above Single A, I don’t know how a team could assume he would only hit 20-30% less than a replacement level major leaguer, and it obviously wouldn’t help his development a whole lot to spend a whole year as a pinch runner / defensive replacement, but I can definitely see both sides as it would have to seem risky to lose one of your top 5 -6 prospects for nothing.
      I don’t remember for sure, but it does seem uncharacteristic for Rizzo to have his 40 man completely full going through the FA season, so it does make you wonder if a trade is brewing out there. The Goodwin or Span bigger trade that Luke mentions is a possibility, but also maybe something smaller using AAAA depth / prospects for a lefty reliever in a trade (especially since FA salaries / years seem to be going to levels that Rizzo has never felt comfortable with for relievers).

  3. Taylor’s second half plus the added certainty
    That City Isle envigorates the next 400ABs
    Spelled a no brained for Doug Glanville Jr
    Minus a few RPMs

  4. All three the Nats protected make sense to me. The two lefties they took off the roster seemed relatively meaningless while Solis and Barrett have a distinct upside. Taylor is only 22 and will likely be at double A next year. His skill set is outstanding, so I believe it was prudent to protect him. As mentioned, there are teams building for the future who should find him an attractive asset as the Nats once found Flores. If not for serious injuries, Jesus would, by all indication, have been an excellent pickup.

  5. Protecting Taylor was indeed the correct move. I think he would be snatched up by non-contending team or a team on the cusp of contending with the next few years. If he was stashed as the 25th player on the roster, given late inning defensive replacement duty (he is a plus defender) and the occasional at bat for the year, why not try? After the year, he is property of the claiming team and could then be optioned back to AA the next year. If he fails, he is offered back to the Nats anyway.
    I’d prefer that he stay in house and continue his development uninterrupted. That may be the Nats thinking.

  6. Seems like this is Rizzo’s mantra: protect defense forego offense. So, he protects Taylor but doesn’t worry much about Martinson, Keyes, and Nieto. Rizzo basically is picking Solano and Leon over Nieto, both with injury histories? Nieto’s offense has picked up but he has yet to play at the AA level.

    • I think he is more likely thinking that it is pretty unlikely that a player from the 2008 draft that still hasn’t made it above Single A will get selected this year (after getting passed over last year). Admittedly, Nieto seemed to take a step forward this last year and showed well in AZ, so it is possible. I think the odds are high that Rizzo picks up another backup catcher to give Adrian another year in the minors to prove himself at a higher level.

    • It’s much harder to stash a 3rd catcher on your roster than it is a 5th outfielder.

  7. Actually, Peric, I like Taylor’s offence much more than any of the three you mentioned. Or maybe I missed your point.

  8. In an eye-opener, our neighbors the Orioles added 3 players to bring their 40-man up to 36 players. (!!!)

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