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Roger Bernadina could compete for the one open spot in the Nationals' lineup.
For the first time since they arrived in town seven years ago, the Nationals don't figure to have many spring roster battles at all.
Consider how much already is set in stone. Only one of the eight everyday positions is undecided at this point: the outfield spot that won't be occupied by either Jayson Werth or Michael Morse. (First base doesn't apply in this case, because there's no chance of an open competition there. Either Adam LaRoche retains his job or the Nationals go out and sign Prince Fielder, who obviously wouldn't have to battle for his lineup spot.)
There are two rotation slots up for grabs among three contenders: Chien-Ming Wang, John Lannan and Ross Detwiler. The loser perhaps winds up in a bullpen that already has five established members: Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard, Henry Rodriguez, Sean Burnett and Tom Gorzelanny. That leaves perhaps one remaining job to be decided.
Really, only the Nationals' bench still needs to be finalized. Though we know Jesus Flores and Mark DeRosa will hold two of the five jobs, with Mike Cameron and perhaps Roger Bernadina frontrunners for backup outfield positions, and Steve Lombardozzi perhaps the frontrunner for a backup infielder spot.
Pretty amazing how much of the roster has already been determined, especially when you consider how many previous incarnations of the Nationals entered spring training with all sorts of question marks and position battles. There have been camps in which three lineup spots were up in the air, and there have been camps in which three rotation slots were open and available to anyone who seized the opportunity.
Let's make a quick run through the 25-man roster, highlighting what few openings still remain...
C Wilson Ramos
1B Adam LaRoche
2B Danny Espinosa
SS Ian Desmond
3B Ryan Zimmerman
LF Michael Morse
CF Jayson Werth or Roger Bernadina or Mike Cameron
RF Jayson Werth or Bryce Harper or Roger Bernadina
1. Stephen Strasburg
2. Gio Gonzalez
3. Jordan Zimmermann
4. John Lannan or Chien-Ming Wang or Ross Detwiler
5. John Lannan or Chien-Ming Wang or Ross Detwiler
1. Drew Storen
2. Tyler Clippard
3. Sean Burnett
4. Henry Rodriguez
5. Tom Gorzelanny
6. Ryan Mattheus or Ryan Perry or Craig Stammen
7. Ross Detwiler or John Lannan or Chien-Ming Wang
1. Jesus Flores
2. Mark DeRosa
3. Mike Cameron
4. Roger Bernadina or Other
5. Steve Lombardozzi or Other
So, we're really just talking about one lineup spot, two rotation spots (with three viable candidates already on the roster), two bullpen spots and maybe two spots on the bench (and that number could be reduced if GM Mike Rizzo acquires another veteran, especially a middle infielder who would bump Lombardozzi to Class AAA).
The Nationals haven't found themselves in such an advantageous position since they've called D.C. home.