Washington Nationals Sign Aaron Laffey To Minor League Deal

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The Nats signed left-handed pitcher Aaron Laffey to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training

The Washington Nationals added another non-roster invitee this afternoon to spring training when they signed left-handed pitcher Aaron Laffey to a minor league deal. Laffey spent the 2015 season with the Colorado Rockies, but only played in three Major League games (1-0, 3.68).

The Cleveland Indians drafted Laffey in the 16th round of the 2003 MLB Draft. He spent three seasons in the minors before making his Major League debut in August of 2007. During that season, he went 4-2 in nine starts with a 4.56 ERA and made the postseason roster (Cleveland lost the ALCS to the Red Sox that season).

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The 30-year-old left-hander went 18-21 with a 4.41 ERA in his four years with the Indians. Since 2011, Laffey has played for several teams either in the major or minor leagues. Those teams are the Mariners, Yankees, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Brewers, Mets, Nationals, and Rockies.

Back in March 2014, the Nats signed Laffey to a minor league deal, but he never made it up to the big leagues. At triple-A Syracuse, he went 12-6 in 25 games (21 starts) with a 3.67 ERA in 147 innings. During that season, Laffey was an International League All-Star because of his strong first half (11-3, 3.15 ERA in 17 games).

Throughout his career, Laffey has not been a high strikeout pitcher. Over his eight-year Major League career, his strikeout per nine innings rate is 4.5 and his walk rate is 3.6. With the Rockies this season, Laffey threw five pitches. He has an average velocity of 86 miles per hour on his fastball (according to Fangraphs) and also throws a cutter, slider, breaking ball, and changeup.

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This past year, Laffey pitched in 27 games for Colorado’s triple-A affiliate, the Albuquerque Isotopes. He went 5-4 with a 3.90 ERA and made 12 starts. However, Laffey’s 3.90 ERA was the lowest on the team among pitchers who started ten or more games and the Pacific Coast League is known more for offense.

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All in all, the Nats end up bringing back a pitcher on a low-risk deal that could provide some depth in triple-A and has experience starting games at the Major League level. While he doesn’t overpower anyone, he can be used as either an emergency starter or out of the bullpen in a long relief role.

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