There's no question the roster that will gather in Viera one week from today will be the most talented one in the Nationals' brief history. It took eight years, but this franchise will finally open spring training with a legitimate chance to contend.
For that, plenty of credit has to go to Mike Rizzo, who since taking over as general manager in 2009 has overhauled the Nationals' big-league roster, not to mention its front-office, coaching staff, scouting department and minor-league staff.
But Rizzo isn't responsible for acquiring the entire roster. Of the 38 players on the current 40-man roster, 21 were drafted, signed or otherwise obtained during Rizzo's tenure as GM. Another eight were acquired when Rizzo served as assistant GM and vice president of baseball operations (from July 2006-March 2009).
That leaves six players drafted in 2005 and 2006, during Jim Bowden's tenure as GM but before Rizzo joined the organization. And then there are the last three links to the Expos: Ian Desmond (drafted by Montreal in 2004), Atahualpa Severino (signed as an international free agent in 2004) and Roger Bernadina (signed out of Curacao way back in 2001, when Jeffrey Loria still owned the franchise).
Suffice it to say, it takes some considerable time to completely overhaul a baseball organization.
As we continue the final countdown to pitchers and catchers reporting, let's look back at how -- and when -- the Nationals' roster was assembled...
Roger Bernadina (free agent, 2001)
Atahualpa Severino (free agent, 2004)
Ian Desmond (drafted, 2004)
Ryan Zimmerman (drafted, 2005)
John Lannan (drafted, 2005)
Craig Stammen (drafted, 2005)
Chris Marrero (drafted, 2006)
Cole Kimball (drafted, 2006)
Jhonatan Solano (free agent, 2006)
Jesus Flores (Rule 5 draft, 2006)
Ross Detwiler (drafted, 2007)
Jordan Zimmermann (drafted, 2007)
Eury Perez (free agent, 2007)
Tyler Clippard (trade, 2007)
Danny Espinosa (drafted, 2008)
Steve Lombardozzi (drafted, 2008)
Tyler Moore (drafted, 2008)
Stephen Strasburg (drafted, 2009)
Drew Storen (drafted, 2009)
Michael Morse (trade, 2009)
Sean Burnett (trade, 2009)
Ryan Mattheus (trade, 2009)
Chien-Ming Wang (free agent, 2010)
Bryce Harper (drafted, 2010)
Wilson Ramos (trade, 2010)
Yunesky Maya (free agent, 2010)
Jayson Werth (free agent, 2010)
Henry Rodriguez (trade, 2010)
Adam LaRoche (free agent, 2011)
Tom Gorzelanny (trade, 2011)
Anthony Rendon (drafted, 2011)
Matt Purke (drafted, 2011)
Ryan Perry (trade, 2011)
Carlos Rivero (waivers, 2011)
Gio Gonzalez (trade, 2011)
Mark DeRosa (free agent, 2011)
Brad Lidge (free agent, 2012)
Edwin Jackson (free agent, 2012)