JUPITER, Fla. — Tyler Moore went unclaimed on waivers over the past two days so the Nationals outrighted him off the 40-man roster and sent him to Class AAA Syracuse. If the 29-year-old infielder/outfielder remains in the organization, he can still keep the $900,000 guaranteed to him this season.
Moore, a well-liked player in the Nationals’ clubhouse, was out of options so he needed to make the team or be taken off the roster. He went 4 for 31 with two home runs, three RBI and six strikeouts this spring. The Nationals’ minor league player of the year in 2010 was once a well-regarded prospect because of his power. He hit 10 home runs in 75 games in 2012 in the majors and had a key pinch-hit single in the playoffs.
But since then, Moore struggled. The natural first baseman was hurt, in part, by lack of playing time and shuttling back and forth between Syracuse and the majors. His swing didn’t work as a pinch hitter, a role he tried to fill for years. He hit .121 as a pinch hitter in 107 at-bats. Overall from 2013 to 2015, he hit .216 with 14 home runs over 202 games.
“I’ve never seen Tyler good or bad,” Manager Dusty Baker said before Moore was outrighted. “I’ve tried to give Tyler every opportunity. … I’ve tried to give ’em opportunity. All I can do is give them an opportunity. I know he was a very popular guy on this team and in the city. It’s hard for me to judge anything other than what I’ve seen. He has struggled. But at the same time, I’ve got to look at his track record at the same time. It’s tough being new sometimes.”
With the move, the Nationals freed up a spot on the roster to potentially add non-roster invitees. Left-handed reliever Sean Burnett and infielder Brendan Ryan are among the veteran players on minor league deals that have impressed in spring training. Baker said Ryan is in the mix “big time” for a spot on the season-opening bench. He said a handful of other players are competing for a bench job, too.
>>> Friday’s game against the Marlins was canceled after a delay because of non-stop rain and lightning. With less than a week left in spring training, the rainout messes with the Nationals’ pitching schedule ahead of the regular season. Tanner Roark, who was supposed to start Friday, will now start Saturday against the Cardinals, the team announced. Joe Ross was originally scheduled to start Saturday so it is unclear if he will be pushed back a day or pitch on the minor league side in Viera.
Baker was also using Friday’s night game, the lone 7 p.m. start of the Grapefruit League season, to prepare players such as Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth for playing under the stadium lights again. The majority of spring training games are at 1 p.m. so it takes players time early in the season to adjust their eyes too night stadium lights. Now Baker’s plans are shot.