The Washington Nationals have agreed to terms with right-handed pitcher Bronson Arroyo, left-handed pitcher Sean Burnett, right-handed pitcher Paolo Espino, left-handed pitcher Aaron Laffey, right-handed pitcher Nick Masset, catcher Jhonatan Solano, infielder Brendan Ryan, infielder Scott Sizemore, outfielder Chris Heisey, outfielder Reed Johnson and outfielder Logan Schafer on Minor League contracts with invitations to 2016 Major League Spring Training. In addition, the Nationals extended Spring Training invites to right-handed pitcher Michael Brady, right-handed pitcher Erik Davis, right-handed pitcher Lucas Giolito, right-handed pitcher Taylor Hill, right-handed pitcher Wander Suero, right-handed pitcher Austin Voth, infielder Jason Martinson, infielder Matt Skole and outfielder Tony Campana.
Pitchers and catchers are slated to report to the Nationals’ Spring Training facility in Viera, Fla., by Thursday, Feb. 18. Washington’s position players will report by Tuesday, Feb. 23, and the first full-squad workout is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 25.
Arroyo, a veteran of 15 Major League seasons, joins the Nationals after spending the 2015 season recovering from Tommy John ligament replacement surgery, performed in July 2014. The 38-year-old has a 145-131 career record and a 4.19 ERA in 405 games (369 starts) during his Major League career. Arroyo last pitched for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2014, going 7-4 with a 4.08 ERA in 14 starts before suffering a torn ulnar collateral ligament in early July. Prior to Arizona, Arroyo spent eight seasons (2006-13) with the Cincinnati Reds, where he ranks among the club’s all-time leaders in strikeouts (8th, 1112), starts (8th, 265), wins (13th, 105) and innings pitched (13th, 1690.1). Prior to his time with the Reds, Arroyo pitched three seasons (2003-05) for the Boston Red Sox, where he was a member of the 2004 World Series Champions, and three seasons (2000-2002) with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Burnett, 33, returns to the Washington Nationals where he spent four seasons (2009-12) and posted a 2.81 ERA in 245 relief appearances. Burnett missed the 2015 season while recovering from June 2014 Tommy John ligament replacement surgery. Following his initial stint with the Nationals, Burnett joined the Los Angeles Angels, where he posted a 1.74 ERA in 16 games while battling injuries.
Espino, 29, enters his third season in Washington’s system. His strong 2015 campaign yielded his first invite to the Nationals’ Major League Spring Training. Espino went 8-9 with a 3.47 ERA in 28 games (26 starts) between Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse. His 120 strikeouts ranked third among Nationals farmhands, while his 3.47 ERA ranked seventh. Following the season, Espino went 2-3 with a 4.28 ERA in 10 games (10 starts) for Caribes de Anzoategui of the Venezuelan Winter League. Espino, who joined Washington after seven seasons (2007-13) in the Cleveland Indians organization, has struck out nearly a batter per inning (8.4 SO/9.0) and has posted a 3.46 strikeout-to-walk ratio over his nine-year professional career.
Laffey, 30, returns to the organization after spending the 2015 season with the Colorado Rockies. He enjoyed three MLB stints (1-0, 3.68 ERA, 3 G) with Colorado after signing with the Rockies as a Minor League free agent following the 2014 season. He appeared in 27 games (12 starts) for Triple-A Albuquerque, going 5-4 with a 3.90 ERA. Laffey spent the 2014 season with the Syracuse Chiefs where his 12 wins were third most in the International League and he was named an International League All-Star.
Masset, 33, joins the Nationals after stints with Miami and Atlanta in 2015. Masset began the season with Triple-A New Orleans before having his contract purchased by the Marlins on April 21. He appeared in eight games with the Marlins before he was designated for assignment on May 17, eventually signing with the Atlanta Braves. He appeared in 20 games before being released on July 10. Masset went a combined 2-2 with a 4.68 ERA in 28 MLB games.
Solano, 30, returns to the organization that signed him out of a tryout camp in Venezuela in Sept. 2005. He spent the 2015 season in the Miami Marlins organization, beginning the season with Triple-A New Orleans. He had his contract purchased by Miami on April 24 and enjoyed two stints with the Marlins, appearing in seven games. While with the Marlins, Solano had the opportunity to play on the same team as his brother, Donovan.
Ryan, 33, joins the Nationals after parts of nine Major League seasons with the New York Yankees (2013-15), Seattle (2011-13) and St. Louis (2007-10). A superb defender, Ryan has appeared in MLB games at shortstop (705 games/635 starts), second base (104 games/72 starts), third base (45 games/28 starts), first base (eight games), outfield (five games/three starts) and one game at pitcher. He hit .229, with six doubles, two triples, eight RBI, and 10 runs scored in 47 games with New York in 2015.
Sizemore, 31, returns to the Nationals for his first full season after joining the organization on Aug. 22, 2015. A veteran infielder, Sizemore has played parts of four Major League seasons with Detroit (2010-11), Oakland (2011, 2013) and the New York Yankees (2014) and has experience playing third base (102 games/96 starts), second base (60 games/55 starts) and first base (two games/one start) at the Major League level. He began the 2015 season with Triple-A New Orleans before signing with Washington in late August. Sizemore hit .426 (20-for-47) with two doubles, one triple, one home run, seven RBI, six walks and seven runs scored in 14 games with Triple-A Syracuse.
Heisey, 31, spent the 2015 season with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Toronto Blue Jays, on the heels of five seasons (2010-14) with the Cincinnati Reds. Since 2010, he leads active MLB pinch-hitters (min. 100 PA) with a .599 slugging percentage and 11 home runs and ranks among active MLB pinch hitters in hits (2nd, 40) and batting average (5th, .282) in 160 career pinch hit appearances. In his only season in Los Angeles’ chain, Heisey enjoyed four MLB stints (33 games) while clubbing 17 home runs in 83 Minor League games. He was released on Aug. 7 and signed with Toronto before being reacquired by the Dodgers on Sept. 1.
Johnson, 39, missed 131 games to injury during the 2015 season. A veteran of 13 Major League seasons, Johnson appeared in 12 of Washington’s 21 games in 2015 before being placed on the disabled list on April 29. He successfully rehabbed and returned to the active roster for the final week of the season and appeared in five of the final seven games of the 2015 season. He initially signed with the Nationals as a non-roster invitee on March 30, 2015.
The Nationals welcome Schafer, 29, who is joining the second professional organization of his career. Schafer spent parts of five Major League seasons (2011-15) with the Milwaukee Brewers. He has appeared in MLB games in center field (97 games), left field (76 games) and right field (33 games). He enjoyed two stints with the Brewers in 2015, including a spot on their Opening Day roster. He appeared in 69 games for Milwaukee, including 25 starts in center field, hitting .221 with six doubles, one triple, one home run, six RBI, 12 walks and 17 runs scored.
Brady, 28, was acquired by Washington with left-hander Trevor Gott from the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for Yunel Escobar on Dec. 10, 2015. Brady, who transitioned to a starter in 2015, has posted a 6.08 strikeout-to-walk ratio during his seven-year professional career. He made his first start of the season on May 26 vs. San Antonio and went 7-5 with a 3.95 ERA as a starter while striking out 99 batters against just 10 walks. In seven Minor League seasons, Brady has posted a 3.08 ERA while striking out 9.4 batters per nine innings.
Davis, 29, returns to the Nationals as a non-roster invitee after being designated for assignment on Jan. 6, 2016. He returned to the mound on May 8, 2015 after undergoing Tommy John surgery on April 2, 2014. Davis went 1-2 with three saves and a 3.88 ERA in 37 games while striking out 47 batters in 48.2 innings pitched between Single-A Potomac, Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse.
Giolito, 21, is tabbed by Baseball America as Washington’s top prospect as well as one of the best prospects in all of Major League Baseball. He will take part in his first Major League Spring Training in 2016 after going 7-7 with a 3.15 ERA in 21 games (19 starts) between Single-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg. Giolito ranked second among Nationals farmhands in strikeouts (131) and fourth in ERA (3.15) in 2015. He has twice represented Washington in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game (2014 at MIN, 2015 at CIN). A first-round selection (No. 16 overall) in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, Giolito is 19-10 with a 2.63 ERA and has posted 10.0 strikeouts per nine innings over his four-year professional career.
Hill, 26, enjoyed three stints with Washington in 2015, posting a 3.75 ERA in six appearances out of the bullpen. He was recalled for the first time on May 30 when Stephen Strasburg was placed on the 15-day disabled list. He allowed exactly one earned run in five of his six Major League appearances. Hill went 3-10 with a 5.23 ERA in 22 starts for Triple-A Syracuse in 2015 in between his stints with the Nationals.
Suero, 24, will take part in his first Major League Spring Training after advancing through Washington’s system. A non-drafted free agent out of Sabana Larga, Dominican Republic in 2010, the tall right-handed pitcher boasts an electric arm, a strong mound presence and the ability to start or come out of the bullpen. Suero began the 2015 season with Single-A Potomac before being promoted to Double-A Harrisburg. He went 7-4 with two saves and a 3.90 ERA in a career-high 33 games (five starts) between the stops.
Voth, 23, enters his first Major League Spring Training after coming off a 2015 season in which he was named Washington’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year. Voth enters 2016 rated as the No. 9 prospect in Washington’s system according to Baseball America. He led all Nationals farmhands with 148 strikeouts and ranked third in the organization with a 2.92 ERA. His 148 strikeouts ranked second in all of Double-A and were tied for ninth in all of Minor League Baseball. He spent the entire season at Double-A Harrisburg, going 6-7 with a 2.92 ERA in 28 games (27 starts). He led the Eastern League in strikeouts (148), strikeouts per nine innings (8.47) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.70). He also ranked among league leaders in hits per nine innings (2nd, 7.67), WHIP (5th, 1.11), home runs per nine innings (5th, 0.57), ERA (8th, 2.92) and walks per nine innings (9th, 2.29).
Martinson, 27, matched a career-high with 19 home runs in 2015, one behind Matt Skole (20) for the most among Nationals farmhands. Martinson has the ability to play nearly every position on the field, having appeared at shortstop (544 games), third base (88 games), left field (15 games), second base (five games) and right field (three games) during his six-year professional career. Martinson was named an International League mid-season All-Star in 2015 and was cited by Baseball America as having the “Best Infield Arm” in Washington’s system prior to the 2015 season.
Skole, 26, will take part in his fourth Major League Spring Training in 2016. The power-hitting corner infielder led Washington’s Minor League system in 2015 with 20 home runs and ranked second with 82 RBI. Skole played in a career-high 132 games for the second straight season and hit .234 with 23 doubles, one triple, 20 home runs, 82 RBI, 72 walks and 55 runs scored between Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse. His 12 home runs and 56 RBI with Harrisburg led the club, despite playing in only 90 games.
Campana, 29, enters his second season in the Nationals’ organization after signing a two-year Minor League contract, Aug. 10, 2015. He began 2015 with the Chicago White Sox before suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in February. He was released and worked out on his own before joining the Nationals’ chain, reporting to the Nationals’ complex in Viera to continue his rehab. In 2014, he appeared in 44 Major League games between Arizona and Los Angeles (AL). Since 2011, his 80.0 stolen base percentage (66-for-75) is tied with Shane Victorino for the best in Major League Baseball.
by Amanda Comak
The Washington Nationals acquired outfielder Ben Revere and a player to be named from the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday in exchange for right-handed pitcher Drew Storen and cash considerations.
Revere, 27, joins the Nationals on the heels of his third consecutive season posting a .300 batting average or higher. The versatile outfielder hit .306 in 2015 with a .342 on-base percentage, 22 doubles, seven triples, two home runs and 31 stolen bases in 152 games, 96 with the Philadelphia Phillies and the final 56 with the Blue Jays.
The speedy Revere is a career .295 hitter who has averaged nearly 30 stolen bases per season during his six years in the Major Leagues. No stranger to the National League East, Revere hit .303 with 35 doubles, 16 triples, 71 RBI and 95 stolen bases during his two-plus seasons with the Phillies (335 games). In 2014, Revere led the National League in hits with 184.
Acquired from the Phillies at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, Revere hit .319 with a .354 on-base percentage to help the Blue Jays earn the American League East championship, their first division title since 1993. Revere hit .255 in the 2015 postseason, tallying a double, an RBI, two stolen bases and four walks as the Blue Jays defeated the Texas Rangers in the American League Division Series, before falling to the Kansas City Royals in six games in the American League Championship Series.
Revere has spent significant time at all three outfield spots and hit the majority of his career at the top of the order, batting first or second in 506 of his 645 MLB games.
An Atlanta, Ga., native, Revere was a first-round selection (No. 27 overall) of the Minnesota Twins in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. He made his Major League debut on Sept. 7, 2010 and hit .278 in 254 games for the Twins, before he was traded to Philadelphia in Dec. 2012, in exchange for right-handed pitchers Trevor May and Vance Worley.
Storen, 28, spent six seasons as a National, going 21-13 with 95 saves and a 3.02 ERA in 355 games, pitching in nearly every role out of the Nationals’ bullpen. The right-hander leaves Washington ranking second on the club’s all-time (2005-present) saves list, behind Chad Cordero (113). He also ranks second in relief appearances (355) and second among relievers in strikeouts (321).
In 2014, Storen led all qualified National League relievers with a 1.12 ERA, the lowest single-season ERA by a reliever in Nationals history (min. 40 games). From 2014-2015, Storen recorded 40 saves, 25 holds, a 2.26 ERA and 113 strikeouts against 27 walks. The No. 10 overall selection in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, Storen made his Major League debut less than one year later, May 17, 2010 at St. Louis.
by Amanda Comak
The Washington Nationals added Dan Jennings to their front office staff on Friday, hiring the former Major League executive and manager as a Special Assistant to President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo.
Jennings, who will focus on all facets of the Nationals’ scouting operations, comes to Washington on the heels of the unique experience of serving the Miami Marlins both in an executive role (most recently as Vice President and General Manager) as well as in an on-field capacity. Jennings took over as the Marlins’ field manager on May 18, 2015, a brand new experience for him after establishing himself as a scout and working in various front office roles.
The Nationals are Jennings’ first new organization since 2002, when he joined Miami as Vice President of Player Personnel and began his ascension through their front office. Jennings also served as the Marlins’ Assistant General Manager & VP of Player Personnel, before his promotion to General Manager on Sept. 29, 2013. In his front office capacities with the Marlins, Jennings focused on roster management, arbitration, payroll, contract research and negotiations, and waiver rule compliance.
Jennings shifted to the dugout, gaining valuable and varied experiences, when the Marlins relieved Mike Redmond of his duties. He led Miami to a 55-69 record, after the Marlins had opened with a 16-22 mark.
Prior to joining the Marlins, Jennings served as the Director of Scouting for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for more than seven seasons, during which time the Rays signed and developed more than 45 Major League players – including Josh Hamilton, Carl Crawford, James Shields and Rocco Baldelli. Jennings began his career as an Associate Scout for the Cincinnati Reds in 1986 and moved to an Area Scout role with the Seattle Mariners in 1988. The Mariners promoted him to Midwest Crosschecker in 1995, before Jennings joined the Rays later that year (August 16).
Jennings, who serves on the Board of Directors for the MLB Scout of the Year program and the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation, was elected into the Professional Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame in 2012. That election followed his 2004 appointment to the Southeastern Professional Baseball Hall of Fame.
An undrafted right-handed pitcher who was signed by the New York Yankees out of a 1984 tryout camp, Jennings’ minor league career was brief. He played collegiately for the University of Southern Mississippi, before graduating from William Carey College in Hattiesburg, Miss., in 1984.
Drew, a veteran of 10 Major League seasons, will join the Nationals on the heels of a 2015 season in which he hit 17 home runs for the New York Yankees. The power output was Drew’s largest since the left-handed-hitter clubbed 21 home runs in 2008 as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks. His 17 home runs were tied for third among Major League second basemen in 2015.
The 32-year-old Drew hit .201 with 16 doubles and one triple, tallied 44 RBI and scored 43 runs in 131 games for the Yankees. He appeared in 123 games (94 starts) at second base, 15 games (10 starts) at shortstop and four games (one start) at third base.
No stranger to the postseason, Drew has appeared in 28 playoff games, including starting at shortstop in each of Boston’s 16 postseason games in 2013, helping the Red Sox secure the World Series title. Drew also appeared in the postseason with the Oakland Athletics in 2012 and the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2007.
A former first-round pick (No. 15 overall) by the Diamondbacks in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, Drew has appeared in 1,152 games in his 10 Major League seasons, hitting .251 with 240 doubles, 62 triples, 114 home runs, 486 RBI, 41 stolen bases and 532 runs scored. He made his Major League debut in 2006, at the age of 23, with the Diamondbacks before stints with Oakland (2012), Boston (2013-14) and New York (2014-15).
A native of Valdosta, Ga., Drew, who attended Florida State University, is the youngest brother of former first-round selections and Major Leaguers, J.D. and Tim Drew.
Hill, 26, appeared in nine Major League games over the past two seasons for the Nationals, going 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA. Hill’s lone big league start came Sept. 26, 2014 vs. Miami. In 111 minor league games (101 starts) spanning five minor league seasons, Hill went 34-35 with a 3.84 ERA. He was a sixth round pick in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft out of Vanderbilt University.
With the addition of Drew, the Nationals currently have 40 players on their 40-man roster.
by Amanda Comak
The Washington Nationals agreed to terms with All-Star infielder Daniel Murphy on Wednesday, finalizing a three-year contract with the 2015 National League Championship Series Most Valuable Player. Right-handed pitcher Erik Davis was designated for assignment.
Murphy joins the Nationals after spending the first 10 years of his professional career in the New York Mets organization, including seven seasons in the Major Leagues with Washington’s divisional foe. A versatile infielder, Murphy has appeared at second base (508 games), first base (190 games), third base (86 games), and in the outfield (60 games) during his MLB tenure.
Murphy is a career .288 hitter who has posted a .331 on-base percentage and a .424 slugging percentage over 903 MLB games. During a 2015 season in which he hit .281/.322/.449, Murphy clubbed 38 doubles, two triples and 14 home runs, while driving in 73 for the Mets.
A strong contact hitter, Murphy posted the lowest percentage of swinging strikes (6.9) in the National League in 2015, along with the highest contact percentage among all NL hitters (91.0). He also ranked in the top 10 among qualified NL left-handed-hitting infielders in batting average (3rd), on-base percentage (9th), and slugging percentage (9th).
Murphy’s 38 total strikeouts in 2015 were the fewest by a left-handed hitter in the Major Leagues, among players who appeared in at least 115 games. He walked (31 BB) nearly as often as he struck out.
It was the 2015 postseason, however, where Murphy emerged as one of the game’s most dangerous hitters, and propelled the Mets to the World Series with a .421 combined batting average in the National League Division Series (.333) and NLCS (.529), along with seven home runs and 11 RBI. The NLCS MVP, Murphy homered in every game of the Mets’ sweep over the Chicago Cubs – four home runs in 18 plate appearances – and singlehandedly drove in 29 percent of New York’s total runs in the series.
Consistency has more often been Murphy’s hallmark, however, as the 30-year-old has posted a full-season batting average below .280 only once in his big league career (.266, 2009) and has an average of .291 since the start of 2011. An All-Star for the Mets in 2014, Murphy earned himself a trip to the Mid-Summer Classic in Minnesota by hitting .294 with a .342 on-base percentage and a .413 slugging percentage, along with 23 doubles, one triple, seven home runs and 37 RBI in his first 92 games of the season.
Murphy, a native of Jacksonville, Fla., was originally selected by the New York Mets in the 13th round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft. He made his Major league debut just more than two years later, on Aug. 2, 2008, and appeared in 49 games for the Mets that season.
Davis, 29, appeared in 37 games across three minor league levels in 2015, going 1-2 with three saves and a 3.88 ERA. Davis, who missed the 2014 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on April 2, 2014, made his debut in 2013. He posted a 3.12 ERA in 10 appearances during a pair of MLB stints. Davis was acquired, along with cash considerations, from the San Diego Padres in exchange for infielder Alberto Gonzalez on March 28, 2011.
by Amanda Comak
Petit comes to Washington after spending the previous four seasons as a member of the San Francisco Giants’ pitching staff. The right-hander, who has played parts of eight seasons in the Major Leagues, was 10-7 with a 3.66 ERA during his tenure with the Giants.
The versatile reliever appeared in 90 games (245.2 IP) in that span, starting 21 and finishing 29. Establishing a reputation for having a durable arm and a penchant for strike-throwing, 57 of his 90 appearances with the Giants were more than an inning in length – including 13 starts – and his 4.92 strikeout-to-walk ratio as a reliever was the fifth-best such mark in the National League from 2012-2015.
The past two seasons, in particular, Petit has been a key cog on the Giants staff. Tough on right-handed batters throughout the course of his career, he has been exceptionally stingy against them since the start of the 2014 season. Petit has held the 422 batters he’s faced in that span to a .213 average against, and struck out 124.
In helping the Giants secure the 2014 World Series Championship, Petit threw 117.0 regular-season innings, struck out 10.2 batters per nine innings and posted a 6.05 strikeout-to-walk ratio, all of which were career highs. In three postseason appearances that year, Petit was 3-0 with a 1.42 ERA (2 ER/12.2 IP).
Over the course of his Major League career, which has also included big league time with the Florida Marlins (2006) and Arizona Diamondbacks (2007-2009), Petit has worked to a 20-27 record and a 4.29 career ERA. Originally signed by the New York Mets as an amateur free agent in Nov. 2001, Petit was not tendered a contract by the Giants on Dec. 2, 2015, and was granted free agency.
With the addition of Petit, the Nationals currently have 40 players on their 40-man roster.
Kelley, a veteran of seven Major League seasons, will join the Nationals after posting a 2.45 ERA and a 2-2 record in 53 games for the San Diego Padres in 2015. He struck out 63 batters and walked just 15 in 51.1 innings pitched.
The 31-year-old is coming off one of the best seasons of his career, as his 2.45 ERA (14 ER/51.1 IP) and 1.091 walks and hits per innings pitched marks were his best since an injury-shortened 2011 season. His 4.20 strikeout-to-walk ratio was his best since 2009 (4.56), his rookie season, and ranked 11th among National League relievers in 2015.
Over his final 45 appearances of the 2015 season, Kelley went 2-0 with a 1.05 ERA (5 ER/42.2 IP) and six holds, along with 54 strikeouts against just 10 walks and limited the opposition to a .184 batting average. His 1.05 ERA over that stretch was the best mark of any National League pitcher with at least 30.0 innings pitched. From July 30 through the end of the season, he allowed just one earned run over his final 21 appearances (15.1 IP), striking out 24 batters, allowing nine hits and walking eight.
Kelley was particularly tough on right-handed batters in 2015, surrendering just two extra-base hits while allowing them to post just a .218 (22-for-101) average against on the season. From May 30 through the end of the year, Kelley did not allow an extra-base hit to a right-handed batter, a stretch that spanned the final 98 right-handed hitters he faced.
Kelley began his Major League career with the Seattle Mariners (2009-12) before joining the New York Yankees (2013-14) and the Padres (2015).
In 289 career appearances, Kelley is 19-19 with a 3.67 ERA while posting 10.2 strikeouts per 9.0 innings and a 3.33 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He was originally selected in the 13th round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft and was acquired by the Padres from the Yankees on December 29, 2014.
With the addition of Kelley, the Nationals currently have 39 players on their 40-man roster.
by Amanda Comak
The Washington Nationals agreed to terms on a two-year contract with left-handed reliever Oliver Pérez on Friday.
Pérez, a 13-year Major League veteran, joins the Nationals’ organization for the second time in his career. The left-hander, once an accomplished MLB starter, made his transition to a reliever after pitching for Double-A Harrisburg in 2011. Since then, Pérez has established himself as reliable bullpen arm, appearing in 232 MLB games (182.1 IP) and posting a 3.31 ERA, while striking out 11.1 batters per nine innings.
A career 67-83, Pérez has made 195 Major League starts, finished 58 MLB games, worked to a 4.44 ERA and worn the Major League uniform of six different teams: San Diego (2002-03), Pittsburgh (2003-06), New York (2006-10), Seattle (2012-13), Arizona (2014-15), and Houston (2015). He returns to the National League East at the big league level for the first time since a five-year stint with the Mets, in which he went 29-29 with a 4.71 ERA and amassed 520.0 innings pitched.
Over the course of his career, Pérez has held left-handed batters to a .238 average, but he was exceptionally tough on left-handed batters in 2015, holding them to a .185 average and .235 on-base percentage. Last season, with the Diamondbacks and Astros, Pérez struck out 34 percent of all left-handed batters he faced (98) and issued only five walks.
Pérez is one of only five left-handed relievers across the Major Leagues who has appeared in 60 games or more and struck out at least 50 batters in each of the past three seasons, joining Tony Watson (PIT), Glen Perkins (MIN), Mike Dunn (MIA), and Brett Cecil (TOR). In his career as a reliever, he’s kept 70.1 percent of inherited runners from scoring, and accrued 25 holds over the previous two years.
The left-hander has made four postseason appearances, separated by nine years, as he started twice in the 2006 National League Championship Series for the Mets and appeared in two games this past October for the Astros in the American League Division Series.
Pérez, 34, was signed as a non-drafted free agent out of Mexico by the San Diego Padres in March, 1999. A three-time member of the Mexican World Baseball Classic team (2006, 2009, 2013), Pérez made 188 MLB starts from 2002-09, including the final home opener (April 8, 2008 vs. PHI) and the final game (Sept. 28, 2008 vs. FLA) at Shea Stadium.
With the addition of Pérez, the Nationals currently have 38 players on their 40-man roster.
by Amanda Comak
This is the fourth consecutive season in which the Nationals have had a Silver Slugger Award winner, and the first time the organization has had an outfield honoree since Alfonso Soriano in 2006.
“We are proud to see Bryce earn his first Silver Slugger award,” said Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo. “Watching Bryce play the way he did this year was a true pleasure. His historic season at the plate is a tribute to the type of talent he is, and I know I’m not alone when I say that I cannot wait to see what is next for this young man.”
“I’d like to say ‘Thank you,’ to the managers and coaches who awarded me with this incredible honor,” Harper said. “Most of all, I’d like to thank my teammates, the Nationals coaching staff and the training staff. I am humbled by their unwavering support and sacrifices, without which this would not be possible. It is a privilege and an honor to be recognized alongside this group of great players.”
Harper, who celebrated his 23rd birthday shortly after the 2015 season concluded, led Major League outfielders in a myriad of offensive categories. They included: batting average (.330), on-base percentage (.460), slugging percentage (.649), walks (124), OPS (1.109), and at-bats per home run (12.40). He led National League outfielders in home runs (42), extra-base hits (81) and at-bats per RBI (5.26).
The Las Vegas-native was also tops in Major League Baseball in Wins Above Replacement for the 2015 season with 9.5 (according to Fangraphs.com).
With Harper’s honor, the Nationals are one of only two National League teams (along with the Pittsburgh Pirates) to have a player earn a Silver Slugger Award in each of the past four seasons. Joining them with active streaks in the American League are the Detroit Tigers (2011-2015) and the Los Angeles Angels (2012-2015).
NATIONALS TO WIN LOUISVILLE SLUGGER SILVER SLUGGER AWARDS (2005-2015)
2006 OF Alfonso Soriano
2009 3B Ryan Zimmerman
2010 3B Ryan Zimmerman
2012 SS Ian Desmond, 1B Adam LaRoche, P Stephen Strasburg
2013 SS Ian Desmond
2014 SS Ian Desmond, 3B Anthony Rendon
2015 RF Bryce Harper
by Amanda Comak
The Washington Nationals named Dusty Baker as manager on Tuesday, agreeing to terms on a multi-year contract that makes him the sixth field manager in Nationals history.
Baker, 66, brings nearly 50 years of professional baseball experience to the Nationals, including 20 years as a Major League manager, six as a coach, and a 20-year playing career that was highlighted by 19 decorated seasons in the Major Leagues.
A three-time National League Manager of the Year (1993, 1997, 2000), Baker is the 17th-winningest manager in baseball history, and his 1,671-1,504 career managerial record slots him second in the win column among active managers behind only San Francisco’s Bruce Bochy (1,702). Washington is Baker’s fourth managerial stop, coming to the Nationals after time in San Francisco (1993-2002), Chicago (2003-2006) and Cincinnati (2008-2013).
“We were looking for a manager to help us achieve our ultimate goal of competing for a World Series championship,” said Theodore N. Lerner, Managing Principal Owner of the Nationals. “During our broad search process we met with many qualified candidates, and ultimately it was clear that Dusty’s deep experience was the best fit for our ballclub.”
Baker, an All-Star, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, and World Series-winning player, has produced seven postseason teams during his 20-year managerial career, including five division championships (San Francisco, 1997 & 2000; Chicago, 2003; Cincinnati, 2010 & 2012), and two wild card appearances (San Francisco, 2002; Cincinnati, 2013). Baker, a coach for the 1989 Giants World Series team, managed the 2002 San Francisco Giants to the World Series, clinching the National League pennant over the St. Louis Cardinals in five games, before falling in seven games to the Los Angeles Angels.
His 1,555 games and 840 victories with San Francisco rank second only to Hall of Famer John McGraw’s 4,405 games and 2,604 wins in Giants history, and his 2003-04 Cubs teams were the first to post consecutive winning seasons in Chicago since 1971-72.
As a player, Baker participated in the postseason four times (1977, 1978, 1981 & 1983), and played in three World Series (1977, 1978, 1981). He earned himself the National League Championship Series MVP award with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1977 (hitting .357 with a .438 on-base percentage and .837 slugging percentage in four games against Philadelphia), and a World Series ring, playing left field for the 1981 Dodgers.
“I am so pleased to welcome Dusty Baker to the Nationals family,” said Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo. “In getting to know Dusty and identifying what we wanted in the next on-field leader of our team, we are excited to have him on board.
“Dusty’s experience, as a winning player, coach, and manager, is vast and varied. We are excited to bring him to Washington and put his steady demeanor, knowledge and many years in the game to work in our favor. I think I speak for the entire organization when I say I am very much looking forward to working with him.”
Baker, a six-time All-Star (twice as a player: 1981 & 1982; three times as a member of the coaching staff: 1994, 1997 & 2001; once as manager: 2003), brings a wealth of experience to the manager’s seat in Washington. His teams have finished first or second 12 times in his 20 years, and won at least 90 games in a season on eight occasions.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the former outfielder is one of just six managers in MLB history to win a division title with at least three teams, joining former Nationals skipper Davey Johnson, Billy Martin, Lou Piniella, Joe Torre, and Tony LaRussa. He is also one of only four in MLB history to produce at least 1,500 hits as a player and win at least 1,500 games as a manager, joining Piniella, Torre and Fred Clarke on that list.
Born Johnnie B. Baker Jr. on June 15, 1949 in Riverside, Calif., “Dusty” Baker currently resides in California with his wife, Melissa, and has two children, Natosha and Darren. A 1967 graduate of Del Campo High School in Carmichael, Calif., Baker attended American River College in Sacramento, Calif. and was inducted into the Sacramento Sports Hall of Fame in 2013.
Baker, who is a prostate cancer survivor (2001), served in the United States Marine Corps Reserve from 1969-75. Baker also has experience as a broadcaster, working for ESPN’s Baseball Tonight in 2007 and, most recently, for TBS as a studio analyst this past postseason.