Skip to content

Restoring the rosters: No. 6 – Montreal/Washington

Sep 3, 2009, 5:43 PM EDT

This is part of a series of articles examining what every team’s roster would look like if given only the players it originally signed. I’m compiling the rosters, ranking them and presenting them in a countdown from Nos. 30 to 1.
No. 30 – Cincinnati
No. 29 – Kansas City
No. 28 – San Diego
No. 27 – Milwaukee
No. 26 – Baltimore
No. 25 – Chicago (AL)
No. 24 – Chicago (NL)
No. 23 – Pittsburgh
No. 22 – Detroit
No. 21 – Tampa Bay
No. 20 – New York (NL)
No. 19 – Houston
No. 18 – Oakland
No. 17 – St. Louis
No. 16 – Florida
No. 15 – San Francisco
No. 14 – Texas
No. 13 – Cleveland
No. 12 – Minnesota
No. 11 – Arizona
No. 10 – Los Angeles (AL)
No. 9 – Toronto
No. 8 – Boston
No. 7 – Colorado
It was the most enjoyable roster to construct, even if it’s no longer quite as strong as it was a couple of years ago. Coming it at No. 6, it’s your ExpoNats.
Rotation
Cliff Lee
Javier Vazquez
John Lannan
Jordan Zimmerman
Randy Johnson
Bullpen
Armando Galarraga
Jason Bergmann
Chad Cordero
Collin Balester
Bill Bray
Darrell Rasner
Miguel Batista
Or Stephen Strasburg, if you like. I haven’t included any other 2009 draft picks in these rankings, though, and I’m not sure it’s fair to start now. It’s not as though the Nationals deserve credit for unearthing the right-hander.
The rotation is strong if one is willing to overlook the injuries. Zimmerman will miss most or all of 2010 after Tommy John surgery and Johnson may not be back next year after missing the last couple of months with a strained shoulder. If those two had to be replaced, then Galarraga and Balester would enter the rotation and there’d be little left for the bullpen. Cordero probably won’t ever be what he was before wrecking his shoulder, and Bray has also displayed little ability to stay healthy.
Once past the 12 pitchers above, one is down to Craig Stammen, the perpetually injured Shawn Hill, Chris Schroder and Mike Lincoln.
Lineup
LF Milton Bradley
CF Grady Sizemore
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Jason Bay
RF Vladimir Guerrero
2B Brandon Phillips
SS Orlando Cabrera
C Brian Schneider
Bench
INF Jamey Carroll
OF Matt Stairs
INF Geoff Blum
C Michael Barrett
OF Jerry Owens
The lineup is pretty remarkable, even with Jose Vidro, Cliff Floyd, Mark Grudzielanek, Brad Wilkerson and Rondell White having fallen by the wayside. The top six players are all All-Star-type performers when they’re going well. Sure, Bay has to be played out of position at first base, but I think he might actually be more valuable there anyway. The defense wouldn’t be much worse than the offense with legitimate Gold Glovers at third, second and in center.
The bench isn’t bad, either. Carroll is getting on base 37 percent of the time this year, and Stairs could still produce an 800 OPS if given more than five at-bats per week. Barrett is iffy after two years ruined by injury, but at 32, he’s not yet too old to bounce back. If not him, then Luke Montz would have to be the backup.
Summary
It’s fun to think what might have been, unless, of course, you’re a spurned Expos fan. The team may well have gone to the World Series in 1994 if not for the strike. In 14 years since, the ExpoNats have finished fourth or fifth 12 times, including the last six years in a row. The franchise hasn’t seen the postseason since 1981, and another last-place finish is surely on the way in 2009. The hopes are now pinned on Strasburg and the Zimmerman(n)s and… well, not much else. There’s still a long road ahead.
But at least it’s no longer being traversed by a Segway.

  1. Marc - Sep 4, 2009 at 6:12 PM

    Didn’t Ted Lilly originally come up with the Expos?

  2. Matthew Pouliot - Sep 4, 2009 at 6:23 PM

    He was drafted by the Dodgers.
    From baseball-reference:
    July 31, 1998: Traded by the Los Angeles Dodgers with Jonathan Tucker (minors), Peter Bergeron and Wilton Guerrero to the Montreal Expos for Hiram Bocachica, Mark Grudzielanek and Carlos Perez.

  3. Anonymous - Sep 10, 2009 at 1:19 AM

    I don’t see why you have Bay at 1B. With Bradley’s injury issues, it would probably be best to stick him at 1B and keep Bay in the outfield.

  4. David C - Sep 10, 2009 at 2:14 AM

    Thanks for putting all this together Matthew! This is very interesting!

  5. Brian - Sep 10, 2009 at 12:48 PM

    Actually, you make a crack at Jim Bowden in the last line, but the main reason the Nationals don’t look like this is Omar Minaya. Minaya systematically dismantled the Expos’ farm system, trading every worthwhile prospect away for rental stars. Just look at this sentence from a news report in 2002: “The Indians sent Bartolo Colon and a player to be named to the Expos for three minor league prospects: pitcher Cliff Lee, outfielder Grady Sizemore and shortstop Brandon Phillips.”
    We can bash Jim Bowden all we want, but the real blame for the current state of this team begins with Omar Minaya.

  6. Pete - Sep 10, 2009 at 3:32 PM

    In all fairness to Minaya, Sizemore was in A ball, Lee in AA, and Phillips had all of 35AB in AAA. How often do all the prospects in a deal work out?

  7. DB - Sep 10, 2009 at 3:48 PM

    The Colon trade was made after MLB announced its intent to fold the franchise. By pushing for a stretch run, Minaya may have saved the franchise, even if he hurt the team.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Do the Angels have any weaknesses?
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. G. Stanton (3746)
  2. A. Rizzo (2491)
  3. R. Castillo (2393)
  4. B. Belt (2190)
  5. A. Pujols (2093)
  1. H. Ryu (2029)
  2. C. Young (2006)
  3. J. Hamilton (1941)
  4. C. Davis (1842)
  5. E. Gattis (1805)