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⚾️⚾️ The Morning Briefing: De La Rosa dropped from the 40-man roster
Here are the latest headlines and analyses around the Washington Nationals and Major League Baseball for today, November 13.
Good Morning Washington Nationals Fans,
Here are the latest headlines and analyses around the Washington Nationals and Major League Baseball for today, November 13, 2023. I am Haden and let’s dive into the news.
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Leading today’s Morning Briefing: Jeremy De La Rosa outrighted from the 40-man roster
Not much news happened over the weekend for the Nationals. The closest thing to news came from the Nationals removing outfield prospect Jeremy De La Rosa from the 40-man roster. This move reduced the 40-man roster to 39 players. TalkNats reported that the open spot will go to left-handed pitcher DJ Herz, who has dominated since coming over in the Jeimer Candelario trade at this year’s trade deadline.
This is the second prospect that the Nationals outrighted off of the 40-man roster in the past three years. Prior to De La Rosa, there was Yasel Antuna, who became a minor league free agent this offseason. While it’s smart to protect your top prospects from the Rule 5 draft (any players signed at 18 years or younger become eligible after five seasons, 19 or older after four), the Nationals decided to protect De La Rosa after he posted an .899 OPS in Low-A Fredricksburg. He struggled in that same season at High-A Wilmington and continued to struggle in 2023.
De La Rosa is still incredibly young, he’s only 21 years old, but the move was extremely aggressive. Could he have gotten drafted? Maybe, but the chances that he stuck on a major league roster for all of 2023 are even slimmer.
Protecting a player like DJ Herz is the right move. He’s eligible for the Rule 5 draft this December. He’s punched out 78 batters in 52 and a third innings since joining the organization. He’s got big-league stuff, and will likely get a shot late this summer, either in the bullpen or the rotation. Walks will be an issue, but they have gotten better in those 52-plus innings.
With this settled, our eyes now turn to non-tenders and the Rule 5 draft.
Non-tender deadline on Friday
With the Rule 5 draft not until Winter Meetings this December, all eyes now turn to the non-tender deadline. This will add a new wave of free agents for teams looking to buy low on players in 2024, just like the Nationals tried to do with Jeimer Candelario and Dominic Smith in 2023.
Apologies in advance, as you will be hearing me talk ad nauseam about this over the next week, but this is the most important time to determine the trajectory of the Nationals in their attempt to compete next season. According to Roster Resource, the Nationals have only four players with guaranteed salaries in 2024, but they did not include Ildemaro Vargas, who already came to terms with the Nationals for next season. There are only a handful of players who I consider “at risk” of getting non-tendered, but that includes Smith, Victor Robles, Alex Call, Jeter Downs, Cory Abbot, and Andrés Machado.
I say that this offseason is huge for determining the trajectory of the team in 2024 because any non-tenders give insight into who the club values, and who the Nationals think they can easily replace or upgrade internally or on the free-agent market. No player is getting cut for monetary reasons, like over-priced raises. If Dominic Smith is non-tendered, the Nationals will be active in signing a new first baseman (that or they have heard my pleas to play Stone Garrett there). If Call or Robles, or both, get non-tendered, there is a good shot James Wood and/or Dylan Crews will be on the Opening Day roster. Either way, we are entering the most interesting part of the year from a roster construction and general manager perspective, and I cannot wait to break things down every weekday.
ICYMI: Latest articles on the Nats Report
Even though it is the offseason, we have been extremely busy producing a lot of great content here on the Nats Report. Here are just a couple of the articles that we have published recently that you might have missed:
We are working on a lot of great Nationals-themed content all off-season so make sure that you are following us on all the major social media channels for the latest.
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