The Washington Nationals added veteran Luis Avilan on a minor league contract with hopes he’ll provide some depth for the team.
This wasn’t the key offseason signing we were hoping for, not even a free agent signing which is guaranteed positive results. This transaction is a necessary one though, and during a slow moving offseason, this gives Nationals fans something to talk about. Pitcher Luis Avilan has been signed to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Something general manager Mike Rizzo is great at is bringing in a stable of arms to compete for jobs at the big league level. These moves are nothing more than additions to the organization to provide depth in case of injury, or a fresh arm should the guys in the big league bullpen become overused early.
Avilan is a veteran of nine Major League seasons, in which he has pitched for six different teams. If he appears in a game with the Nationals, they will be the fourth National League East team he will have suited up for.
There are currently three left-handed relievers on the 40-man roster, with only one guaranteed to break camp with the team after spring training. Sam Clay was signed to a Major League contract without having pitched in the majors, leaving the Avilan signing as an insurance policy were Clay to flounder out of the gate.
Avilan has 349 innings of work on his resume with a 3.30 ERA and a FIP of 3.47.
If he makes the team, Avilan will be the left-handed version of what we saw from Javy Guerra. Journeyman, bullpen guy, who catches on without a specified role. Sure, Avilan could fall into the LOOGY category, though with the new batter minimum rule, does this guy even exist anymore?
As predicted earlier in the offseason, I believe Rizzo will bring in a handful of these guys to compete for jobs out of spring training. The old adage goes, you can never have too many healthy pitchers.