The day after the Nationals' made their latest round of cuts brought a various reactions depending on the player reporters approached in the clubhouse.
For Chris Heisey - who earned the final bench spot - it was jubilation and a readiness to get started as a backup outfielder on the 25-man roster. For Trevor Gott - who was left out of the Opening Day bullpen - it was frustration and an understanding that more work will be needed for him to become a regular contributor to the big league club in Washington.
Baker could tell Gott took the news hard after joining the Nationals in an offseason trade with the Angels for Yunel Escobar. But this isn't the Angels, Baker explained.
“That was tough. Trevor Gott, I mean this guy has upside potential. But the Angels didn’t have quite the pitching that we have. My message to him was: Just go down and pitch. We love the stuff. We love his demeanor. This guy, he doesn’t appear to be intimidated by anybody. Just go down and pitch. I urged him to work on his secondary pitches. Because he has an electric fastball. But it just didn’t seem like his breaking stuff or his secondary pitches were equal in command as his fastball," Baker said.
"There's a lot of talent on this team and I think that's a good thing," Gott said.
Gott - who allowed three runs in nine spring innings - became the odd-man out with Blake Treinen earning the final bullpen spot. Treinen pitched his fifth scoreless outing on Friday night against the Twins, needing only eight pitches to throw a perfect frame.
Baker was pleased with the progress Treinen showed this spring.
"It appears he’s maturing in front of our very eyes. He’s gaining confidence every day," he said.
Treinen getting picked for the 25-man roster also left veteran Sean Burnett without a job. His locker was cleaned out and his name plate was missing from the Nationals' clubhouse on Saturday morning.
Burnett also became a victim of the Nationals' bullpen depth.
"It was a very, very, very tough decision, especially with Mike Rizzo involved, because he’s close to Sean Burnett. We would have liked to keep them all," Baker said. "This guy is big-league ready. But this is what happens when you have a good team."
In Heisey's, he just brought a bit more to the table than Reed Johnson in Baker's eyes.
"We just felt that Heisey had more to offer as far as playing all three outfield positions, a little better speed, a little better throwing arm. Both are excellent pinch-hitters. Heisey’s power is intriguing," Baker explained.
Johnson had also cleaned out his locker at Nationals Park.
Heisey has a history with Baker dating back to their time with the Reds and boasts a strong track record as a pinch-hitter with a .936 OPS and 11 homers in 142 at-bats off the bench. The 31-year-old hopes to bring that attribute to the Nationals, as well as a good personality for the clubhouse.
"I think my track record has shown that I can hit for power off the bench and play good defense in the outfield," he said. "Hopefully I can bring some other stuff off the field; a winning attitude and hopefully be a good teammate. I know as a bench player you have more to do than just pinch-hit. You've got to pick up your teammates that are playing every day. Those guys need to be patted on the back and be told how well they're doing. If they're struggling, maybe I can find something that can get them back going well again. There's other intangibles that I like to think I can bring to a team."