30 in 30: A Chiefs Countdown to Opening Day – Day 17
We’re counting down until Opening Day with a new post on our Inside the Chiefs blog every day until Syracuse’s opener on April 3rd. Here’s what’s on tap today…
Happy Moving Day. The Nationals cut seven players today – likely all headed to Syracuse – in their biggest spring-training day to date. Zach Walters, Christian Garcia, Ross Ohlendorf and Jhonatan Solano were officially optioned to Syracuse, while Will Rhymes, Manny Delcarmen and Brock Peterson were reassigned to minor-league camp.** Let’s examine the moves:
**For terminology’s sake, an explanation: players on the 40-man roster are “optioned”, while non-roster invitees (players not on the 40-man) are “reassigned”. But there’s no reason I can see why the latter three players wouldn’t be headed to Syracuse.
IF Zach Walters – Walters tied for the International League lead with 29 home runs last season and made his major-league debut at the end of the year. There are only two main questions with Walters – where will he hit? (Last year, almost entirely sixth or seventh.) And what position will he play? (Last year, mainly shortstop, but with a big chunk of third base in the second half of the year.)
RP Christian Garcia – Garcia’s talented enough to be in a major-league bullpen. But with the Nationals, it’s just a numbers game – too many good pitchers for one group, meaning he’ll return to Syracuse. A quick reminder of what he can do here from his 2012 numbers: 27 games, 0.56 ERA, 32.1 innings, 18 hits, 11 hits, 38 strikeouts, 14 saves in 14 tries. Not bad.
SP Ross Ohlendorf – Ohlendorf put up a 4.22 ERA in 14 games (13 starts) with the Chiefs last year, though his other numbers suggested a better season than that – 74.2 IP, 65 H, 30 BB, 71 K. He then sported a 3.28 ERA in 16 games (7 starts) with Washington. He’ll likely be in the rotation – good news for the Chiefs.
C Jhonatan Solano – Ever since the Nationals traded for Jose Lobaton on February 13th, we’ve assumed Solano would be with the Chiefs come Opening Day, and there’s no reason to doubt that now. Catcher Chris Snyder remains in major-league camp, however, with the Wilson Ramos/Lobaton combo.
IF Will Rhymes – Rhymes spent every day of the 2013 season on the Chiefs, playing in 133 games – one shy of Walters’ team high. He posted a .360 OBP thanks to an outrageous 65/29 BB/K ratio. Expect him to be a key contributor again at either second base or third base, depending on where Jeff Kobernus (if he’s optioned) and Walters play.
RP Manny Delcarmen – Healthy for the first time in a few years, the former World Series winner (2007 Red Sox) could provide a major boost to the Chiefs’ bullpen. Delcarmen’s worked his fastball back up to the mid-90s in velocity and has improved his Triple-A ERA each of the last few years. His contract, however, does have an out clause for June 1st.
IF Brock Peterson – Peterson bashed 25 home runs in 122 games for Triple-A Memphis last year, a season in which he made his major-league debut (26 at-bats with St. Louis). He’s knocked out 139 minor-league home runs in 10 seasons. Expect him to play some 1B and OF for the Chiefs this year.
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