The Nationals will play only five more games before rosters expand Sept. 1, when teams are eligible to call up any player on its 40-man roster. Here’s a rundown of which players the Nationals may be adding.
RP Ian Krol: The Nationals knew Krol would return the minute the sent him down last week to make room for Ross Ohlendorf. Krol was outstanding when he first came up and helped stabilize a Nationals bullpen that included no lefty with relief experience. He tailed off a bit, but his presence will surely help the Nationals’ bullpen.
RP Ryan Mattheus: The Nationals sent Mattheus down when he pitched poorly coming off a broken hand, which he suffered punching his locker in San Diego. But he has been too reliable for them in the past for the Nationals to not bring him back when possible.
OF Corey Brown: The outfielder the Nationals received from the A’s with Henry Rodriguez for Josh Willingham has been a call-up for two straight seasons. He hit 19 homers in 367 at-bats this year. At one point, the Nationals considered calling him up to replace Roger Bernadina.
OF Eury Perez: Perez was a call-up last year and received a cup of coffee early this season. He’s one of the fastest players in the Nationals’ entire system, and so he would be useful as a pinch runner.
UT Jeff Kobernus: Did he really play center field and leadoff in a game for the Nationals this year? Yes, yes he did. Seems like forever ago. Kobernus held his own when he had a cup of coffee this season. His speed and versatility would make a useful part of the roster. He hit .324 at Class AAA Syracuse this season.
IF Zach Walters: Named an International League all-star today, Walters is a favorite of Manager Davey Johnson’s from spring training. Walters is not on the 40-man roster, but that is not much of an obstacle. The Nationals have two spots open after they cut Roger Bernadina and traded Kurt Suzuki. They also need to place Walters on their 40-man roster this winter if they want to protect him from the Rule 5 draft, so it’s near-certain he’ll end up on the roster in a matter of months, anyway. Walters has hit 29 homers this year and slugged .531. He also has a .287 OBP and has committed 34 errors.
IF Danny Espinosa: Manager Davey Johnson said last week he did not think Espinosa had earned a call-up, because he had not made adjustments the Nationals wanted out of him. The decision, though, lies with Mike Rizzo. It seems as though he is still making up his mind. If the Nationals are serious about trying to catch the Reds, they should call him up. If nothing else, would have value as a late-inning defensive replacement for Anthony Rendon.
C Sandy Leon: He is only hitting .185, but Nationals officials remain high on his defense and his potential. He debuted in the majors last season. There’s little reason not to carry a third catch if you’re able to, and Leon is the only catcher on the Nationals’ 40-man roster beyond Wilson Ramos and Jhonatan Solano.
1B Chris Marrero: He didn’t show much in a brief stint this season, and with Tyler Moore on the roster, Marrero would probably not be in line for much playing time, anyway. At Syracuse, Marrero hit .271 with .731 OPS and 10 homers.
RP Erik Davis: He was impressive in his debut, but Davis may not be necessary in a crowded bullpen.