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Posted at 10:59 AM ET, 03/30/2011

The surest thing about the Nationals’ opening day roster? It will change


We have spent the past month predicting, analyzing and arguing over the Nationals opening day roster, which is now set, ready to take the field tomorrow – you can almost smell the sausages hitting the grill and hear the beer vendors. Chances are, all the effort put into forecasting and debating the initial Nationals 25-man roster will amount to proportionally little importance.

Any baseball team’s roster experiences flux throughout the season. Major league players get hurt or stop performing; minor league players make it impossible for the team to keep them out of the Show; unforeseen needs (like, oh, maybe another right-handed bat off the bench) arise. The odds are that the Nationals’ roster will look very different, possibly very soon.

Last year, the Nationals headed north with Jesse English, Jason Bergmann, Willy Taveras, Brian Bruney and Garrett Mock – more than a fifth of their first 25-man roster offered minimal contributions. Meanwhile, Livan Hernandez (in a strictly technical sense), Roger Bernadina, Drew Storen, Doug Slaten and Joel Peralta all started the year in the minors before making significant impact.

This year’s roster seems more stable than last year’s. The starting rotation may not have any obvious stars, but it also has few apparent question marks. Last year, the Nationals knew they were going to ship out a reliever early in the year in order to make room for Livan Hernandez. This year, they’re not bothering to give themselves an extra reliever.

But you never know for sure what or when changes will come. You can be almost positive that they will happen, and when they do, the roster of players that lines up on the first base line tomorrow will be all but forgotten.

FROM THE POST

Stephen Strasburg’s recovery has been perfect so far, but the hard part will start now as he stays behind while the Nationals start their season.

In the Post’s baseball preview section, Sheinin details the difficulty of molding a closer like Drew Storen.

Boz examines the mystery of what makes a great reliever.

Read the rest of the section online right here.

And you can still enter the Baseball Insider picks contest.

By  |  10:59 AM ET, 03/30/2011

 
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