The Washington Nationals made another round of cuts today. Shairon Martis was optioned to Syracuse while Chris Duncan and Pete Orr were re-assigned to Minor League camp, leaving 36 players trying to make the Major League club.
While none of these cuts are surprising, perhaps the most disappointing is that of Chris Duncan. Duncan, 28, was the National League St. Louis Cardinals Rookie-of-the-Year in 2006 when he hit .293/.363/.589 with 22 homers and 60 RBI in just 90 games, while helping to spark the Cardinals to a World Series Title. Duncan has had trouble replicating his rookie numbers since however, tumbling on a decline that has seen him get traded and then cut in the last two years.
Many were hoping that a change in scenery would have helped the once-sweet-swinging lefty find himself, however, Duncan hit only .156 with seven RBI in 32 at-bats. Duncan remains positive though, telling MLB.com's Bill Ladson:
"If I can go down there (Syracuse), get at-bats and find my swing, the Nationals could find a spot for me on this team. I don't think I found my swing yet. I'm a lot closer than I was last year. I put in a lot of work. Hopefully it comes around. I know what I'm capable of when I get hot."
Shairon Martis, 22, will head back to Triple-A to work on his control and his consistency. Martis started the season on the big league club last year, and began well before tapering off to a tune of a 5-3 record with a 5.25 ERA in 15 starts. Martis was plagued by control problems allowing 4.10 BB/9 in 85.2 innings. After being demoted, Martis continued to struggle in Syracuse posting a 4.96 ERA in 74.1 innings pitched.
Martis is only 22 and still has a chance to make a future impact on the big league club, however many scouts question just how good his stuff is and how effective overall he can truly be.
Orr, 30, will be headed back to Triple-A where he has already played 236 career games. A utility-infielder, Orr had no chance of making a club in a camp that already boasted three major league options in the middle infield, and veteran names like Gonzalez and Bruntlett that he couldn't surpass.