The Nationals announced on Thursday that they have outrighted first baseman Chris Marrero, their first round pick in 2006, to Class AAA Syracuse. The move removes Marrero from the Nationals’ 40-man roster and makes him a free agent after the World Series.
It is a quiet ending for Marrero’s tenure with the Nationals, a corner infielder who was once considered their top hitting prospect with a bright future. The 25-year-old has been hampered by injuries. In limited playing time this season in the majors, mostly as a pinch hitter, he hit .125 (2 for 16) over eight games.
The Nationals selected Marrero with the 15th overall pick in the 2006 draft out of Monsignor Edward Pace High in Opalocka, Fla. By 2009, Baseball America rated him as the organization’s No. 3 overall pick behind Jordan Zimmermann and Ross Detwiler and the best power hitter in the system.
Marrero made his major league debut in Aug. 2011 at 24, and he hit .248/.274/.294 over 31 games. He showed promise but then tore his hamstring playing winter ball. He rushed back and in 2012 hit .244/.333/.307 without a home run in 37 games at Class AAA Syracuse and later admitted he wasn’t fully ready.
This spring, he impressed Nationals officials with his renewed power and health, but he had already fallen back in the organizational pecking order. Tyler Moore was the Nationals’ top choice as a back-up first baseman because he was more durable and showed plenty of promise in 2012. When Moore struggled, the Nationals turned to Marrero, among others, this summer and he couldn’t deliver in a tough situation. At Syracuse this season, Marrero posted a .270/.331/.402 slash line with 11 home runs in 111 games.
With Marrero’s removal, the Nationals roster will stand at 41 players, including pending free agents Chad Tracy and Dan Haren. That number does not include Christian Garcia and Detwiler who are both on the 60-day disabled list.