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Martis DFA’d

Jan 24, 2011, 6:53 PM EDT

The Nationals have designated right-hander Shairon Martis for assignment, a move that clears space on their 40-man roster for utilityman Jerry Hairston, who was officially added today.

Once a rising star in the Nationals' farm system, Martis was a surprise member of the 2009 Opening Day rotation and began that season with a 5-0 record. He hasn't won another big-league game since. After falling to 5-3 with a 5.25 ERA in 15 starts, he was optioned to Class AAA Syracuse.

Martis, 23, spent all of 2010 at Syracuse, going 8-7 with a 4.09 ERA in 27 starts. The Nationals, who used 14 different starting pitchers last season, never gave Martis a chance to return to the big leagues, evidence of his diminished stature on the organizational depth chart.

Martis now has 10 days to either be traded, released or clear waivers and be outrighted to the minors. A source close to the Curacao native said Martis hopes to land with another organization.

The Nationals signed Hairston on Wednesday to a one-year, $2 million contract to serve as a jack-of-all trades off the bench. The 34-year-old utilityman can play second base, shortstop, third base andRead more ยป

  1. JaneB - Jan 24, 2011 at 7:05 PM

    I always wondered why they sent him down at the time, because it seemed like he was doing pretty well. What is the story there — does anyone know? Maybe it just messed with his head? I hope he gets another chance with someone who can help him succeed.

  2. SpashCity - Jan 24, 2011 at 7:06 PM

    Maxwell and Severino have to be next on the chopping block. Mark, when are the Nats allowed to put players (Strasburg) on the 60-day DL, opening another spot on the 40-man roster?

  3. Todd Boss - Jan 24, 2011 at 7:09 PM

    Very surprising move. I would have thought that Martis' young age would have given him an advantage over someone like Atilano or Mock in terms of being given more development time.

  4. Mark Zuckerman - Jan 24, 2011 at 7:10 PM

    Players aren't placed on the 60-day DL (or any DL) until the end of spring training. So that's not a move they can make now to clear space on the 40-man roster.

  5. Positively Half St. - Jan 24, 2011 at 7:18 PM

    I wouldn't be all that sure that Mock is safe.

  6. JD - Jan 24, 2011 at 7:23 PM

    The problem with Martis is that he tops out at 90 MPH and he doesn't have any other special pitches. It's not a question of opportunity or development; he simply doesn't have enough weapons to get major league hitters out consistently. The reason people like Mock keep getting chances is that that they have great arms and you don't want to give up on that unless you are totally convinced that they will never get it together.

  7. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 24, 2011 at 7:28 PM

    Martis continued to struggle with command… He would always have high pitch counts, 80 – 90 by the start of the 5th inning, and never get past that.JD is correct in that he is considered a "soft tosser" with no exceptional pitch to induce swings and misses.

  8. John C. - Jan 24, 2011 at 7:29 PM

    I was there for Martis's career day (so far, I guess) – his complete game, 5H, 1R, 6K, 0BB gem on May 1 2009. It was amazing; the game barely lasted two hours. Other than that his performance was not so good (a 5.25 ERA even with the CG? A K/BB ratio UNDER 1.0?). He did have a 5-3 record, but that was more due to luck and run support than his efforts. And he continued to unimpress at Syracuse last year (8-7 record, ERA>4, K/BB ratio of 1.65).Atilano has (marginally) better performance, and at the ML level, and Mock has better pure stuff. I wish Martis well, but I do endorse this move by the Nationals. Not that they were waiting for my endorsement :DI do think that the next two to go will be either Atilano, Severino, Maxwell or Mock.

  9. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 24, 2011 at 7:44 PM

    Unfortunately, I have a hunch it's going to be another arm as we have quite an inventory of guys that can pitch and not alot of everday position players in our system. That said, it wouldn't bother me at all to see Maxwell DFA'd.

  10. Doc - Jan 24, 2011 at 7:44 PM

    Unfortunately, for Martis there is not much pitching stuff for another club to want to catch onto. Even at AAA it was like he was pitching batting practice.

  11. HHover - Jan 24, 2011 at 7:51 PM

    Todd – Martis is young, but he was drafted at 17 and has pitched almost 650 innings in the minors, more 40% of them at AAA. The Nats have had more than enough time to evaluate him, and don't feel that he has much of an undiscovered upside at this point–which seems right.

  12. Anonymous8 - Jan 24, 2011 at 8:17 PM

    SpashCity said… Maxwell and Severino have to be next on the chopping block.—————-Who was keeping the 9 Lives counter on Justin Maxwell as he may be at life #12. Heck, he may be the starting CF on Opening Day.

  13. N. Cognito - Jan 24, 2011 at 9:02 PM

    I'm hoping the Nats DFA Carpenter.

  14. Pilchard - Jan 24, 2011 at 9:05 PM

    Wonder if the Nats know that there are other major league teams interested in Maxwell which is preventing them from giving him up for nothing.

  15. Slidell - Jan 24, 2011 at 9:23 PM

    Re: Maxwell. Its possible that someone (perhaps even someone in the Nats organization) is looking at his athleticism and wondering if maybe they can be the one to fix his batting problem. Max seems to have all the other tools.

  16. Anonymous - Jan 24, 2011 at 9:28 PM

    "Wonder if the Nats know that there are other major league teams interested in Maxwell which is preventing them from giving him up for nothing."They wouldn't have to give him up for nothing. If other team(s) were interested, all they'd have to do is DFA him. That gets him off the 40-man roster and gives them ten days to work a trade.

  17. JaneB - Jan 24, 2011 at 9:34 PM

    I'm with Slidell.

  18. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 24, 2011 at 9:47 PM

    Maxwell has to out of or very close to out of options. That means if he isn't DFA'd he has to make the 25 man roster and I can't see him beating out Ankiel or Benandina for an extra outfield spot. Especially now that the Nats have Jerry Hairston, Jr. who can also play in the outfiels.I hate to tell you, JayneB, but no matter what, his days are numbered unless he figures out a way to shorten his stroke, make consistant contact, cut down on strike outs, generate walks and do it all starting immediately from day one in Spring Training.

  19. raymitten - Jan 24, 2011 at 10:02 PM

    I've heard stories that the Nats were not pleased with Martis' conditioning. He came to camp last year out of shape and virtually had no chance to make the rotation on that alone. Plus all the other reasons others have pointed out already.

  20. N. Cognito - Jan 24, 2011 at 10:02 PM

    It's hard to cure Can't Hit Major League Pitching Disease.

  21. Navy Nats Fan - Jan 24, 2011 at 10:05 PM

    Mark – I'm posting here because the congratulatory thread on your phase 2 post looks pretty done. I (along with all of your other loyal readers, I'm sure) would like to take the money I would have used to subscribe to NI this year and use it to buy you a beer at a Spring Training send-off before you depart for Viera. I propose Molly Malone's at 713 8th St SE, or Justin's Cafe at 1025 1st St SE. Day and time of your choice. What say you?

  22. Harper_ROY_2012 - Jan 24, 2011 at 10:19 PM

    I like Shairon and for his sake I hope he catches on with another organization. He is a victim of being a Bowden guy, much like Burgess, and Rizzo never took a shine to the Bowden boys!Mark: any predictions on who gets moved to create the other two spots on the 40 man???

  23. Wally - Jan 24, 2011 at 10:21 PM

    This move makes sense to me. I am not a fan of Martis, and they need to make space in Syr for some of the AA rotation guys that they will need to make decisions on within a year. I liked Martin better, but also understand why they released him. I think Atilano is going next. I, like many others, would put Maxwell here too but it looks like he has pictures of somebody important.

  24. N. Cognito - Jan 24, 2011 at 11:34 PM

    For anyone that's disappointed in the possibility of the Nats losing Martis, DON'T WORRY!There will be about 50 guys just like him available around ST.

  25. Section 223 - Jan 24, 2011 at 11:36 PM

    I think a spring training send off with a beverage of your choice is a terrific idea. Count me in.

  26. Will - Jan 24, 2011 at 11:41 PM

    I think Maxwell is probably safer than guys like Mock, Atilano or Severino, because of depth. There's probably 10-12 SPs ahead of Mock or Atilano on our depth chart, and the same for the bullpen and Severino (or Mock). Right now, we only have Morgan and Brown (at AAA) as natural CFs, then Hairston and Ankiel who can fill in in a pinch.All it takes is a season-ending injury to Morgan, and Maxwell could reenter the picture, but it would take a cataclysmic chain of events for Atilano or Severino to ever see the big league roster.

  27. Big Cat - Jan 25, 2011 at 12:02 AM

    Was never a Martis fan. i would just release him.

  28. Big Cat - Jan 25, 2011 at 12:06 AM

    He would make a good number 2 starter for a team in the Maryland Industrial League

  29. Theophilus - Jan 25, 2011 at 12:32 AM

    I don't know what the attachment to Severino is. Dominican who didn't sign until he was 21; can't have been anything special. Just that he's a left-handed reliever, I suppose. Someone said Maxwell hangs around because of depth issues in the system and that is probably Severino's safety strap as well. I would guess — using the depth argument — Mock is next to go. I have the sense management has decided he is a head case who isn't going to reach his full potential — assuming he has one — until he has an epiphany and decides to work rather than rely on his arm.But it really doesn't matter who goes next as at least two more must go — quickly. Between Severino and Maxwell — again considering the relative depth needs of the organization — Maxwell probably gets the next ticket out. At AAA, the Nats have (A) Brown; (B) Frazier in the event of emergency (in case of Frazier, a "pile sandbags around Harry Truman emergency," in view of all those on the big league roster who own and outfielder's glove). So there is probably enough space for Severino on the roster for this year unless MLB contracts the Pirates out of business.

  30. Snowflower - Jan 25, 2011 at 12:42 AM

    Guys. This is Shairon Martis we're talking about, not Cy Young. He stinks. No great loss.

  31. SonnyG10 - Jan 25, 2011 at 12:45 AM

    I would vote for releasing Martis as well. I never saw much from him or the potential for an upside. I kinda would like to hang onto Mock because of his stuff, but I just don't understand why he often gets beat like a drum. And what about our pitching coach? Is he good enough to bring out the best in our pitchers? I can't get a sence of his true ability.

  32. Carl in 309 - Jan 25, 2011 at 1:00 AM

    Confess I have tended to zone out earlier this month with the commentary about who would have to be cleared from the 40-man roster. A couple of names raised didn't ring any bells with me. And I just figured we'd know when we knew. When N. Cognito suggested DFAing Carpenter, I knew I was confused. So I referred to the Nats 40-man roster (http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/team/roster_40man.jsp?c_id=was). Leaving aside no one named Carpenter is on the list (did I miss the humor?), there are more than a few names I don't recognize. But it certainly helps to see whose in the pool. The 40-man roster, by the way, has 42 names on it!

  33. BinM - Jan 25, 2011 at 1:16 AM

    Martis got DFA'd because of his age (24), more than anything else imo; At least this way, Rizzo has some "wriggle-room" with him for a possible trade. If he were 27-28, it would have been an outright release, much like JD Martin. Next up, Mock, Severino, Maxwell, or Atilano; Take your pick.

  34. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jan 25, 2011 at 1:29 AM

    Another soft-tosser gets tossed by Rizzo. If I were John Lannan, I'd be worried.

  35. BinM - Jan 25, 2011 at 1:29 AM

    @Carl in 309 – The Carpenter thing is a joke, but it has a double meaning. N Cognito was referring to Bob Carpenter, the MASN play-by-play guy. The last time he left a job (St Louis Cardinals), the team won the World Series the following year. The other side of the blade is that he's not particularly 'loved' by a portion of the fanbase in DC (and I'm among them).

  36. Anonymous8 - Jan 25, 2011 at 1:37 AM

    Carl in 309, if you are looking at the Nats site, there are 42 names on there but that isn't official as Coffey hasn't been added to the roster and I think Gorzelanny hasn't been added.As each is added by MLB, the Nats will have to remove another player off the 40 man.

  37. BinM - Jan 25, 2011 at 1:37 AM

    @Sunshine: Rizzo (& the Nationals) just gave Lannan a $2.75M contract; He's proven he can get MLB hitters out over a three-year period, he's a LHSP, and he has options remaining. Unless he's traded, he's a 'lock' for the 2011 rotation.

  38. TimDz - Jan 25, 2011 at 1:41 AM

    @BinM: Do you see Lannan being traded? I don't think you are implying this, but want to know what your opinion of this (a trade involving Lannan) is…

  39. NatBiscuit - Jan 25, 2011 at 3:50 AM

    Atliano, Maxwell, Mock, and Severino do seem to be the most logical choices, but here is the secret move nobody is talking about: Alberto Gonzalez could be moved in deal for a low level minor leaguer or AAAA player.

  40. NatBiscuit - Jan 25, 2011 at 4:36 AM

    Well it was an original thought, but apparently Phil Wood scooped me hours ago. How embarrassing. Gonzo going, going, …Plus Grady Sizemore and Fausto Carmona interest rumored …. (I didn't see that one coming).

  41. Anonymous - Jan 25, 2011 at 5:19 AM

    @BinM: Do you see Lannan being traded? I don't think you are implying this, but want to know what your opinion of this (a trade involving Lannan) is…Phil Wood from past posts appears to be a reliable source.Who is the manager in Cleveland? Manny Acta (although they've hired Hargrove as an 'advisor'). He has already brought in a couple of his favorite Nats players in Austin Kearns and Kory Casto (who I guess is now in the Detroit system?). I guess Saul Rivera was there for a bit as well? Manny is perhaps interested in Lannan? If it brings Fausto Carmona? Grady Sizemore less so … that's Nick Johnson/Josh Willingham. And he has hit a lot worst the last 2 years. He did hit 33 home runs with a decent OBP in 2009. But he doesn't look like a full-time player and may perhaps be more of a DH until/unless he recovers from his knee problems/surgery?

  42. Another_Sam - Jan 25, 2011 at 10:39 AM

    I'm not a GM; I'm a fan. I'll long remember Martis' 5-0 start. I'd hoped he be back. Plus, if you've been to Curcao (sp?) you'll be a fan of any player from there.

  43. JayB - Jan 25, 2011 at 11:02 AM

    Next DFA options are clear as posted before Martis move. Rizzo is doing the right thing by targeting what is left of Jimbo's players. Maxwell, Atilono, are easy next choices and Mock and A Servernio are after that. I love Rizzo's frank lines about getting tired of watching guys who have proven they are just not progressing….Maxwell is that guy.IF Rizzo makes more trades and gets some real starting pitching in for this year then this roster is starting to look like a real team. I like the emphases on speed, defense and character. Rizzo clearly is looking for real baseball players not toolsy types who are in it for a paycheck and never loved playing the game even as a high school player.

  44. BinM - Jan 25, 2011 at 1:04 PM

    @TimDz: Didn't mean to imply that Lannan would be traded – Just that a trade is the only way you get him out of the Starting Rotation.

  45. Ballinonabudget - Jan 25, 2011 at 1:10 PM

    If Rizzo can swing a trade for Sizemore I think he should go for it. He is coming off two injury-riddled seasons, and he is a free agent after 2012, but he obviously has more upside than Nyjer. Assuming Rizzo does not think Nyjer is the long-term answer in CF, I think it is reasonable to try to take a chance on Sizemore, who at 28, could return to his 2007-2008 form (.270/.380/.480, 30 HR, 30 SB potential). If he doesn't work out, he will be gone in two years and the Nats will still need a long-term CF.I think Carmona would be great, he has much better stuff than most of the Nats' starters. Phil Wood's source says the Indians are "trying to move salary," indicating that they might be more willing to make a trade for less than top of the line prospects and/or major league players.Let's see if Rizzo has another rabbit in his hat.

  46. Will - Jan 25, 2011 at 1:28 PM

    It's questionable whether Sizemore will be ready by Opening Day. It's also questionable how well he'll recover from his knee injury. Will his CF defense be as stellar as it had been in the past? Will his power come back?However, if there's any indication in ST that Sizemore's recovering well from the injury, the Nats should definitely pursue a trade. Sizemore has been the best CF/leadoff man over the past 6 years. He's an upgrade on Nyjer Morgan in every sense of the word "upgrade". Good character, good on base skills, great defender, great power, and intelligent base running skills.Fausto Carmona, however, is a waste. We already have three replicas of him: Livan Hernandez, Jason Marquis and John Lannan. Inconsistent, low strikeout, high walk junkballers who eat up innings, but are nothing more than back of the rotation types.

  47. Anonymous8 - Jan 25, 2011 at 1:52 PM

    IF the Indians give up Sizemore they still will want prospects for him. I wonder if Acta would take Justin Maxwell straight up? Haha

  48. mockcarr - Jan 25, 2011 at 5:06 PM

    Carmona is going to be another sell-high deal, I hope Rizzo doesn't fall for it, the guy stunk as badly as anyone in 2008-9, and I don't buy into 2010 as what kind of pitcher he'll be going forward. He's maybe slightly better than Lannan making twice the money. Meh to that unless he comes a reasonable low prospect price.Sizemore is owed a pretty good chunk of change, it shouldn't take much to get him, since Cleveland is in full rebuilding mode. If the guy looks like he can still play center, he'll be worth it, even if he's fragile, you can move on since it's a team option for 2012 – it's no worse a risk than anything else, and costs you less than a year of Marquis or Guzman did.

  49. Harper_ROY_2012 - Jan 25, 2011 at 5:49 PM

    For those of you counting out Mock, remember Mock is from the D-backs system (Rizzo's system) so he will not be on the chopping block.As for those favoring a DFA of Maxwell, I can only wish that would happen as he has PROVEN he cannot hit in the majors, BUT as far as the 40 man roster goes, he will remain for OF depth with only 8 OF's on the roster and 1 (Harper), who will not play a factor in 2011.There are 24 pitchers on the 40 man so becuase of depth they are expendable. My predictions are:Atilano (soft-tosser coming back from injury)andSeverino (probably should have never been on the 40-man to begin with and with all of the new relievers that we signed/drafted and the emergence of Carr and Kimball in the AFL, he is surplus).

  50. Souldrummer - Jan 25, 2011 at 6:39 PM

    Rumor has it that Sizemore's team option becomes a player option if he's traded. I'd still move on Sizemore, but I wouldn't give up much to make that move. If the Indians want to dump 8M in salary (7.5Mil plus a .5M buyout for 2012) they can do that, but they shouldn't expect to get more than we got for Josh Willingham: an upside young reliever in Henry Rodriguez and a fringy prospect in Corey Brown. I guess we'll see what he's worth. I would love him for to be an option to send down or ship out the weakest outfielder come June. Feels to me like getting Sizemore would feel like getting Willingham. Take on somebody's undesirable salary and have supposedly too many options in the outfield, until one (Austin Kearns, cough) falls off the map and you suddenly need the one you traded for.

  51. Frediemac - Jan 25, 2011 at 9:09 PM

    Hell yes get Sizemore :)

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