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Chico DFA’d

Dec 22, 2010, 12:39 AM EDT

The Nationals have designated left-hander Matt Chico for assignment, clearing one spot on their 40-man roster needed after last week's signing of Chien-Ming Wang.

Chico, who pitched in one big-league game this year, has seven days to either clear waivers and be outrighted to Class AAA Syracuse, be traded to another club or released.

The 27-year-old went 7-9 with a 4.63 ERA as a rookie in 2007, leading the Nationals' pitching staff with 31 starts and 167 innings pitched. But he opened the following season 0-6 with a 6.19 ERA, earning a demotion to the minors. He later informed team officials his left elbow was in pain; he wound up undergoing Tommy John surgery and missing the rest of that season, plus the majority of 2009.

Chico made a full recovery from the injury and pitched well last season, posting a 3.62 ERA in 26 combined starts between Syracuse and Class AA Harrisburg. But his standing on the Nationals' pitchingRead more ยป

  1. Nate - Dec 22, 2010 at 12:47 AM

    Maxwell and Atilano maybe? I can't see them clearing a spot for Mattheus by DFA anyone they just added to the 40-man.

  2. Alex - Dec 22, 2010 at 12:57 AM

    Do they really have to clear a spot for Mattheus? I thought they didn't need to since they made him available by outrighting him in November. Doesn't need to be on the 40-man roster if no one else picked him up, does he?Any idea by when they have to make room for the Ankiel signing?

  3. Theophilus - Dec 22, 2010 at 1:18 AM

    Should be several clubs — Pittsburgh, KC, Houston, AZ — that need a #5 starter. Chico would fit the bill. Hope someone picks him up. Someone trading for him is too much to hope for. Enough other marginal pitchers on the 40-man roster to provide Christmas presents for every GM on the above list.

  4. Todd Boss - Dec 22, 2010 at 1:32 AM

    Wow, wouldn't have picked Chico. Just by virtue of being lefty he is worth keeping over guys like JD Martin and Atilano. Surprised. 2 more guys to go; i'd go with Martin and Maxwell.

  5. Anonymous - Dec 22, 2010 at 1:34 AM

    Maxwell for Ankiel and my guess, my hope, is Mock for Mattheus. I wish for a day whenever have to see Garrett Mock pitch ever again.

  6. Wally - Dec 22, 2010 at 1:38 AM

    I like Mock, and see no reason that he can't be as effective as they think Elkin and HRod will be in the bullpen.Maxwell seems like the obvious choice, but I bet they keep him due to a righty that can play CF. I am guessing Atilano

  7. SpotsyNats - Dec 22, 2010 at 1:41 AM

    Any chance that with the Ankiel signing that Nyjer gets the Elijah treatment: sent packing with a one-way ticket out of Natstown? IMHO Nyjer's antics and lack of offense painted a bullseye on his back and my read is that Rizzo is looking to purge non-character guys or guys the stain any Nats cred rehab effort.

  8. Anonymous8 - Dec 22, 2010 at 1:45 AM

    I'm telling you again and again that Justin Maxwell has 9 lives. My guess is the Orioles will pick him up when they hear he is from Silver Spring, MD as Angelos will think that the Orioles will sell lots of tickets to the Montgomery County fans and family members of Maxwell.

  9. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Dec 22, 2010 at 1:56 AM

    @Anonymous 8:45: I think you have captured the sum total of the Glory-oles' 2011 marketing campaign. And I agree J-Max has nine lives. He may have nine more in the AL.

  10. Anonymous - Dec 22, 2010 at 2:14 AM

    Chico's rookie numbers were almost exactly the same as Jordan Zimmermann's. Both had Tommy John surgery but Chico gets cast aside while the Nationals count the days until Zimmermann returns.No, I don't think for a moment that they have similar talent but I do think that no player should lose his job because of an injury. In his one game stint back in the majors, he gave up two runs in five innings. What was wrong with that?Hopefully, he sticks with the organization.

  11. Anonymous - Dec 22, 2010 at 3:01 AM

    IN Chico's case the velocity on his fastball actually went down after the surgery. He isn't a finesse pitcher, at least not yet. But he is left-handed which is why they retained him. With Solis, Rosenbaum, Detwiler they now have plenty of left handed prospects I imagine. There's also Tom Milone and Ryan Tatusko. They let Chuck James go as well.

  12. Theophilus - Dec 22, 2010 at 3:37 AM

    I think Mark Z will confirm that Maxwell is past his option year. If so, they won't be able to yo-yo him up and down to Syracuse every time they need a spare outfielder. Meaning, if he doesn't hit enuf to play regularly, they would have to DFA him eventually. So, logically, might as well do it now. Someone like Brown or Burgess can fill Maxwell's job description. On the other hand, there are so many pitchers on the 40-man roster who are utterly dispensible it seems reasonable to cast them out there, one after another and see if some team is willing to offer a Rookie League 1B or something.

  13. N. Cognito - Dec 22, 2010 at 3:43 AM

    My God. A guy who will never be much good in the majors gets DFA'd and people complain about it.

  14. Theophilus - Dec 22, 2010 at 4:04 AM

    Chico is spunky, and appeared to have potential for improvement, unlike Ohka, Zach Day, Ramon Ortiz and Pedro Astacio, among others that were trotted out every fifth day and apparently didn't give a rat's patootie about being here, so people have sympathy, and regret. But there are a bunch of players — of whom Chico was one and the Nats have had too many, and continue to have too many among their pitchers — that you look at and ask, "Are we ever to get to the NLCS if this guy is my 2B/CF/4th starter, etc.," and the answer is emphatically "No." And as to them, the sooner they get moved out the more opportunities there are to evaluate and develop players who have the potential to play for a winning team.

  15. Anonymous - Dec 22, 2010 at 4:10 AM

    JD Martin may be one of the most competitive (if not the most competitive) player on the roster. Think Werth squared. Its his attitude and bull dog determination. He's not a bad athlete even if his arm (llike Chico's and Sean Burnett's) was adversely affected by the TJ surgery. Fortunately for Nats fans Jordan Zimmermann's was not. Hopefully, the same will be true for Stras.

  16. Big Cat - Dec 22, 2010 at 11:09 AM

    Of Note: Marrero hitting .306 in Ponce of the Puerto Rican Winter League. The kid is gonna hit in the majors.

  17. NatsJack in Florida - Dec 22, 2010 at 12:47 PM

    But it's going to be as a DH in the American League. He has hands of stone and feet of lead.

  18. Paul - Dec 22, 2010 at 1:09 PM

    Couple things:1. I think Maxwell sticks. He has too much speed and plays defense too well to go. Plus he is still (sorta) young.2. I know it is the offseason, but why are people concerned over a guy who made one spot start in the majors? He is probably about 11th on the starter depth chart.3. Marrero's defense isn't that bad. He has a better range factor than 2010 GG Pujols had this year (but then again, so did Dunn). If Marrero can hit, they'll find a spot for him.

  19. NatsJack in Florida - Dec 22, 2010 at 1:29 PM

    Hey Paul…. since we had 13 different starters last year, dumping #11 shouldn't hurt too much.And even Bill James will tell you defensive sabremetrics are not very trustworthy.

  20. alexva - Dec 22, 2010 at 1:50 PM

    I'll bet that Manny picks him up for the Tribe. I'll remember his game against the Philthies on the last game of 2007, had the Mets and Glavine not folded that day PHI would have been knocked back to a one game playoff.Good luck Matt.

  21. JayB - Dec 22, 2010 at 2:15 PM

    Njack is right…I watched him in Spring Training the past 3 years….he has the slowest feet around 1st base as anyone I have ever seen. Marrero makes Dunn look like a gold glover….On day I watched 30 mins of one one one drills just trying to get Marrero to get his foot off the middle of the bag….he could not do it….not once.

  22. Deacon Drake - Dec 22, 2010 at 2:21 PM

    JD Martin is the one that will likely be screwed (or blessed)… he much too consistent to be wasting away in AAA, but the Nats are committed to groundball veterans and getting their young guys innings. Martin will resurface somewhere next season and put up some decent numbers.

  23. sec3mysofa - Dec 22, 2010 at 2:43 PM

    Matt did what he could at a time when not much was getting done. Good luck to him.

  24. Big Cat - Dec 22, 2010 at 2:51 PM

    Well, you guys have seen Marrero live and give that report. That has a little merit. I remember when I first saw him in leftfield for PW I thought he didn't have all the tools you normally see in a number one draft pick.

  25. Steve M. - Dec 22, 2010 at 2:56 PM

    Theophilus said… I think Mark Z will confirm that Maxwell is past his option year. If so, they won't be able to yo-yo him up and down to Syracuse every time they need a spare outfielder. Meaning, if he doesn't hit enuf to play regularly, they would have to DFA him eventually. So, logically, might as well do it now. Someone like Brown or Burgess can fill Maxwell's job description.I thought Maxwell had another option year due to an injury a few years ago but Corey Brown is also on the 40 man and is a lefty who had a great 2009 AFL and a very strong finish to 2010. Brown's biggest issue is slow starts so expect him to start out in AAA and be the first option if someone falters. Personally, I think Maxwell has had enough chances and is your consumate AAA+ guy who just can't make the adjustment to the bigs. It happens and Rizzo needs to let it go. Someone will pick up Maxwell and I don't expect any different results.

  26. JaneB - Dec 22, 2010 at 2:59 PM

    I join you all in wishing Chico well. And wondering what went wrong in his recovery from TJ surgery (and Burnett and Martin)? And though I KNOW the Nats FO is all over it — how does that same thing NOT go wrong with Strasburg? Like Paul, I think Maxwell stays up. If Rizzo is all about defense, that's Maxwell's strong suit.

  27. Theophilus - Dec 22, 2010 at 3:32 PM

    I don't think anything went wrong w/ Chico's TJ surgery. He just wasn't very good to begin with. Remember, between Chico and Mock (rec'd for Hernandez from AZ), Nats thought Mock was the better prospect. And we all know how that has worked out.If there is a single, consistent, inexplicable failing in the Nats' management of their minor league pitching projects it is the steady production of pitchers fatally in love with their curve balls — that they can't control and/or flatten out over the plate. Mock is Exhibit A but Storen and others are guilty. Often makes me wonder who's in charge of pitch selection.

  28. natsfan1a - Dec 22, 2010 at 5:22 PM

    As sec3 noted, pre-injury Chico (the pitcher, not the writer) did what he could at a time when not much was getting done. An added bonus was the ball-in-the-stands blooper. Kid's got spunk (and I *don't* hate spunk). I wish him well.

  29. Anonymous - Dec 22, 2010 at 6:08 PM

    Chico the writer, good riddance. Chico the pitcher, maybe not so much. But on balance, the end of the Chico era is a good thing.

  30. Sofa - Dec 22, 2010 at 6:20 PM

    Hey, maybe they'll *both* end up earning a nice living in Japan.

  31. natsfan1a - Dec 22, 2010 at 6:48 PM

    MLBTR reports that Chico (the pitcher) cleared waivers and will be a non-roster invitee to Spring Training.

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