The Washington Nationals added another potential bullpen option to the organization this afternoon, according to Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus, when they agreed to sign Dan Cortes to a minor league contract. Cortes, who’ll turn 25 in early March, was non-tendered by the Seattle Mariners in early December.
Cortes has seem minimal action with the Mariners over the past two seasons. In 14 career appearances he’s totaled a mere 16.0 innings of work. He’s 0-3 with a 5.06 ERA, 5.1 K/9, and 5.1 BB/9.
Originally a 2005 Draft pick (7th Round) of the Chicago White Sox, Cortes will be joining his fourth organization in the Nationals. He’s actually been traded twice – first from Chicago to Kansas City (along with Tyler Lumsden in exchange for Mike MacDougal), roughly a year after being drafted, and then later from Kansas City to Seattle (with Derrick Saito for Yuniesky Betancourt) in July 2009. He’s generally been considered a quality arm, having twice been named to Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospect list (#57 entering 2008, #90 entering 2009).
The 6’6” right-hander is a hard thrower with relatively solid strikeout numbers through his minor league career. Most of that time has been spent working as a starter rather than out of the bullpen, but his abilities seem to fit better in a relief role moving forward. Command has been a concern, as Cortes has been prone to give up a lot of base runners. If he’s able to cut back on the hits and walks, he could prove to be a valuable option for the Nationals’ bullpen moving forward.