The farther you are from a major splashdown, the smaller are the ripples you sense. That doesn’t mean, though, that they won’t be felt, sooner or later.
Two significant events figure to keep the Fredericksburg Nationals’ roster in flux for the rest of their inaugural season.
The first was Major League Baseball’s first-year player draft earlier this month, in which the Washington Nationals chose 20 young men whom they hope can reach the major leagues some day. At least few of them are likely to wear a FredNats uniform before the season ends on Sept. 19, and the parent club undoubtedly will want to get a glimpse at what they can do in a real-life professional game.
With roster limits and only nine men allowed on the field at a time, that means that some of the current FredNats may not get the playing time they’ve become accustomed to seeing. It could mean a seat on the bench, or an unwanted trip back to the Nationals’ minor-league training site in West Palm Beach, Fla., or (in the worst-case scenario) a difficult closed-door meeting with the coaching staff.
It’s a cruel part of the business that is baseball. Winning isn’t the most important thing in the minors, but when you are 23–49 and have the league’s second-worst team batting average and ERA, few jobs are truly safe.
The second upheaval could come later this week if, as expected, the struggling parent club starts peddling veterans before Friday’s trade deadline. And it could become a two-edged sword for minor-leaguers within the organization.