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Maxwell DFA’d

Jan 27, 2011, 6:52 PM EDT

The Nationals designated outfielder Justin Maxwell for assignment today, clearing space on their 40-man roster for reliever Todd Coffey.

Maxwell, an Olney native who was drafted out of the University of Maryland in 2005, never saw his career take off with the Nationals despite a number of stints in the big leagues the last two years.

In 122 total games in the majors, Maxwell hit .201 with nine homers and 26 RBI. The outfielder did have a knack for producing in clutch situations; he hit three grand slams in six career plate appearances with the bases loaded, including a walk-off game-winner against the Mets in the 2009 home finale at Nationals Park.

Maxwell, 27, has 10 days to either be traded, released or clear waivers and be outrighted to the minors.

His removal from the 40-man roster coincides with the addition of Coffey, the veteran right-hander who came to terms with the Nationals last week on a one-year contract after spending last season with the Brewers.

  1. Anonymous - Jan 27, 2011 at 7:06 PM

    I believe that everyone including J-Max saw this one coming.

  2. Todd Boss - Jan 27, 2011 at 7:07 PM

    Sorry to see him go, but it was clear he was caught in an OF numbers game.

  3. N. Cognito - Jan 27, 2011 at 7:12 PM

    Maybe he'll make it back up with someone, someday, but he simply can't hit major league pitching. Too bad. He's a fellow Terp.But he got there, even if it was for only several cups of coffee. It was a stint I'm sure we'd all give a king's ransom for.

  4. Anonymous - Jan 27, 2011 at 7:13 PM

    This is a sign of progress, Maxwell is a borderline big league player that I hope will not clear waivers and get a shot with another team. Its exciting to know that the Nats are good enough that they can give someone up of his talent level. Best of luck to him!

  5. Steve - Jan 27, 2011 at 7:20 PM

    So, who will be Riggleman's new favorite who has no business on the lineup card?

  6. Dan - Jan 27, 2011 at 7:29 PM

    He'll join that great list of guys who never played in MLB again after being a Nat. Nook Logan, anyone?

  7. SCNatsFan - Jan 27, 2011 at 7:39 PM

    I agree, by all accounts a nice guy but has to learn to hit ML pitching when the bases aren't loaded. I also agree with above that the DFA of Chico, Thompson, Maxwell and Martin shows we are making incremental progress; for awhile these are the type players we had all our hopes pinned on. And you are right n.cogneto, he made it to the show, something no one can ever take from him.

  8. Richard - Jan 27, 2011 at 7:39 PM

    JMax did pretty well at Syracuse last year. BA .287, OBP .390, Slugging .439, in 230 ABs. I hope he's outrighted to Syracuse and gets another shot there in 2011, with a decent contract.

  9. DFL - Jan 27, 2011 at 7:40 PM

    Maxwell will be in Syracuse in April. Hope he's got longjohns for 39 degree night games.

  10. Anonymous - Jan 27, 2011 at 7:44 PM

    @Steve Nyjer!

  11. Harper_ROY_2012 - Jan 27, 2011 at 7:49 PM

    Good move, LONG overdue, but I doubt at this stage of the offseason anyone will stake a claim to him, he is 27 and coming off surgery, I think he will join the Syracuse OF and be a roster filler for the rest of 2011.

  12. Anonymous - Jan 27, 2011 at 7:55 PM

    So, who will be Riggleman's new favorite who has no business on the lineup card?I guess you haven't been listening to the Podcasts of the Riggleman interviews? He really, really, really loves another non-hitting outfielder named Rick Ankiel.Good move, LONG overdue, but I doubt at this stage of the offseason anyone will stake a claim to him, he is 27 and coming off surgery, I think he will join the Syracuse OF and be a roster filler for the rest of 2011.Nats now rank 19th organizationally by Keith Law and rising. Orioles rank 24th. I expect the Orioles will claim him if no one else does.

  13. JaneB - Jan 27, 2011 at 8:17 PM

    I know he's not a plate producer in the big leagues yet, but I have so enjoyed watching him since he came up in September in the old stadium. I wish him the best and hope that he ends up in a situation where he can thrive. His heart and his integrity are writ all over him, and I hope people will sit on the snarky comments and just send him good vibes.

  14. Theophilus - Jan 27, 2011 at 8:19 PM

    Ryan Langerhans seems to have made a career out of hitting .200 (or less) in Seattle. Maxwell has hope.

  15. natsfan1a - Jan 27, 2011 at 8:28 PM

    I'm with you, JaneB. Good luck to him.

  16. Anonymous - Jan 27, 2011 at 8:41 PM

    Our long Nationals nightmare is over!

  17. HHover - Jan 27, 2011 at 8:49 PM

    I don't like the way management played Maxwell last year, but I've got nothing against the guy. I was at the last home game of 2009 with my son, and Maxwell's walk-off is one of his favorite Nats' memories. I wish him well in whatever he does.

  18. raymitten - Jan 27, 2011 at 8:55 PM

    Does this mean that JMax is completely gone or is it a possibility that he's back on a minor league deal like Chico?

  19. JD - Jan 27, 2011 at 9:08 PM

    Off topic; I just looked at Keith Law's top 100 prospect list and there are 3 Nats on it: 1) No. 2 – Harper. 2) No. 31 – Norris. 3) no. 98 – Ramos. The interesting part about this is how much more of a prospect Norris is than Ramos. Another interesting tidbit is that Reds1st base prospect Alonso is completely blocked to the majors by Votto; we have to find a way to get him to the Nats (Desmond?); at 23 he might be the answer at 1st for many years.

  20. Anonymous - Jan 27, 2011 at 9:09 PM

    Does this mean that JMax is completely gone or is it a possibility that he's back on a minor league deal like Chico?I think 'DFA' means they will take him back if he clears waivers and likely put him with Randy Knorr. Whereas with JD Martin it was an unconditional release.

  21. Mark'd - Jan 27, 2011 at 9:46 PM

    I guess he can sign a Minor League deal RayMitten if nobody picks him up.Glad to see Rizzo finally not playing favorites. Nyjer better take notice!

  22. Drew8 - Jan 27, 2011 at 9:52 PM

    So long, JMAX, a smart guy and a good guy who just can't hit MLB pitching.If he can't catch on somewhere, I hope the Nats can find a role for him with the organization. Can't have enough folks with smarts and character.

  23. Wally - Jan 27, 2011 at 10:02 PM

    JD – I think that is somewhat because of the formula. Law values upside more than probability of making the majors, and Norris' bat projects better and he assumes that he stays at C. But because he is also further away from the majors, he is riskier. Ramos is further along and kind of thought to be showing what he is: good D, some pop, poor OBP guy. That being said, I probably agree with Norris over Ramos, but not by as much.Totally agree on Alonzo. Since Reds want to win now, a bullpen guy might be a key piece for them. I assume that Rizzo has tried, tho.

  24. Mark'd - Jan 27, 2011 at 10:11 PM

    The Reds may move Alonso to the outfield so he has a position at the MLB level with the Reds.

  25. wally - Jan 27, 2011 at 10:20 PM

    BTW – I noticed two other Nats comments in Law's chat:Cole – 'he can be a #1 starter if he wants to'Chris Marrero – 'too harsh to call him a non prospect. Still a prospect, just not a high one' something like that

  26. JD - Jan 27, 2011 at 10:22 PM

    Mark'd,From what I read there is no way Alonso can play the outfield; he is 100% a 1st baseman (average defense).WallyI have to tell you I love the fact that Norris is an OBP machine; his walk ratio is off the charts and his power is just developing and he is coming off a broken hamate bone. I really think he is our catcher of the future; having said that I hope Ramos has a great year and at the very least can be flipped for something useful; not many good catchers around.

  27. JD - Jan 27, 2011 at 10:31 PM

    Wally, I don't think Marrero is much of a prospect either; if he could at least play 1st or left at a somewhat acceptable level he might have a useful bat but I don't think he will hit enough to strictly be a DH. We may end up flipping him for a C- arm.

  28. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 27, 2011 at 11:00 PM

    Well, DC has a proud history of guys who speak ten languages, and can't hit in any of them.

  29. Theophilus - Jan 27, 2011 at 11:05 PM

    On the MLB Top 100 prospects show, Alonso was ranked pretty far down their list and the commentators did not hype him very much. I don't think that makes him anybody's building block for the future. If he truly can't play the OF, then the Reds will use him to get a starting pitcher for the pennant race at the trade deadline.

  30. Anonymous - Jan 27, 2011 at 11:06 PM

    That being said, I probably agree with Norris over Ramos, but not by as much.It depends on how much you value physicality? Norris is pretty fast, fairly athletic guy for a catcher. Ramos dropped quite a bit on the list and I suspect it has to do with his increasing girth as much as any other perceived shortcoming? Law mentions his tendency to grow horizontally.Looking at Pudge, one can see that it does make a difference.

  31. Theophilus - Jan 27, 2011 at 11:15 PM

    Maxwell coming off TJ surgery (left arm, I understand) is not a treasure for any one — no idea when he'll actually be ready to play. Doesn't seem likely anyone will offer him a major league contract so he might think Syracuse, second or third in line when Morgan gets the boot, isn't a bad option. It would be really cruel (both to him and the fans who have been told about his great "tools") if, after yo-yo'ing him back and forth for two years, the Nats said "You're not good enuf for Syracuse (or Harrisburg)" and gave him his outright release.

  32. Wally - Jan 27, 2011 at 11:37 PM

    Re: Norris, his bat makes him a great advantage at catcher if his defense is passable, but a tandem of him and Ramos would be even better. There are some stats that say having someone catch more than 120ish games a year wears out their body quickly (ie Russell Martin). I haven't been in the camp of moving him to 1B if there is any chance he can catch at the major league level, because his bat isn't as special there. At C, there is Mauer, then a drop off to Posey & McCann, then a whole bunch of comparable guys (I think that I am missing someone good,tho). At 1B, sheesh – Pujols, Votto, Cabrera, AGon, Fielder, Tex, … Norris could be special at C, 2d or 3d tier at 1B. Ramos seems like a Miguel Olivo type, which isn't bad, and a tandem could be a real strength (if one was lefty, would be ideal).Also not big on Marrero any longer; hope I am wrong.I don't think that the Reds needs starters – well, everyone could use a Cliff Lee, but they have at least 6 pretty good ones – Arroyo, Cueto, Bailey, Volquez, Wood, Leake. That is why I thought a really good bullpen guy could be of interest to them. Someone like Storen or Burnett, plus some prospects? Although shortstop probably makes more sense.

  33. Anonymous8 - Jan 28, 2011 at 2:02 AM

    HHover said… I don't like the way management played Maxwell last year, but I've got nothing against the guy. I was at the last home game of 2009 with my son, and Maxwell's walk-off is one of his favorite Nats' memories. I wish him well in whatever he does. _________________________________Do you mean his normal HR where he drops the back shoulder swinging for 500 feet and it goes 300 feet in the air and lands just over the fence in the flower pots in leftfield?Bernadina and Willie Harris hit HRs further than JMax. I expect him back in the Nats AAA after he clears waivers. I think this was an educated gamble by Rizzo hoping nobody else would take him. Rizzo might have been waiting to make a trade to clear some room on the 40 man. JMax will kill it in AAA and Rizzo will be foaming at the mouth to get him back to DC. Expect the same results, lots of Strikeout/Walks and the occasional HR and a batting average boring under the MENDOZA LINE!

  34. Anonymous8 - Jan 28, 2011 at 2:05 AM

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/thehotstoneleague/2014058588_adam_kennedy_arrested_for_dui.htmlAdam Kennedy and Jim Bowden have more than 1 thing in common!

  35. Anonymous - Jan 28, 2011 at 2:16 AM

    He'll make a great gym teacher somewhere. The only way he ever returns to Nats Park is if he buys a ticket.

  36. SonnyG10 - Jan 28, 2011 at 2:38 AM

    JMax is a great guy, but I don't think he'll ever hit ML pitching. I wish him well.

  37. HHover - Jan 28, 2011 at 5:05 AM

    Anon8It's safe to say my point went over your head, and not just in a barely-cleared-the-flower-pots way.

  38. Anonymous - Jan 28, 2011 at 7:58 AM

    Bottom line: Rizzo had handled the outfield situation. Why quibble?I assume he will handle the real problem, starting power pitching minor league depth. The only HS draftee who has been just short of succeeding is minor league pitcher Brad Peacock. Think about that, and Sideshow Jimbo's picks.Rizzo isn't going to make those mistakes as much as so many people here want him to. To them I say go out and shove some snow!

  39. JayB - Jan 28, 2011 at 12:31 PM

    Good Morning All,Just looked over the 40 man roster and it looks so much better that last year. Think of it, at the end of the season to now. Now that is a lot of needed change. Still work to do for sure but every one of the players removed has been replaced with a true baseball player in most cases one from another organization but who is still young or who has proven they play the game the right way….I just hope Rizzo and Riggs are effective in getting wins out of these guys and not complaining and excuses like we got from Adam "have a another drink" Kennedy types. That is a worry because while he was the cheap option at 2nd base last winter….Adam K should have been much better for the team and Rick A. and Harrison, Cora all might also fall into that trap…..so many players have when the get to Natstown. Why is that?

  40. Will - Jan 28, 2011 at 12:37 PM

    Regarding Norris and Ramos- this is a good problem to have. And don't forget Jesus Flores either.If Ramos establishes himself as a Pudge-lite (ie great defense, decent bat, and few walks), then that would be great. Or if Flores returns and starts playing well, that gives us two very capable Cs. This would give us the freedom to move Norris to first, since his D behind the plate is a work in progress. I could easily see Norris turning into Nick Johnson. A huge OBP with good, but not extraordinary, power. As we saw in 2005-2006, a healthy Nick Johnson is immensely useful. That would resolve our infield for the next half decade.Or we could take the trade route. Kyle Drabek yielded Roy Halladay, and Casey Kelly yielded Adrian Gonzalez. Top 30 prospects are hugely valuable.

  41. JayB - Jan 28, 2011 at 1:15 PM

    At least this off season was better than last year….I would guess I pointed out how poor an off season 2009-2010 was at the time but MAN…that is a bad roster….makes 2011 look rosy really.Opening day 25 roster last seasonCatchersIvan RodriguezWil NievesInfieldersAdam DunnAdam KennedyIan DesmondRyan ZimmermanCristian GuzmanAlberto GonzalezOutfieldersWillie HarrisNyjer MorganJosh WillinghamWilly TaverasMike MorseStarting pitchersJohn LannanJason MarquisCraig StammenGarrett MockRelieversMatt CappsBrian BruneySean BurnettTyler ClippardJason BergmannMiguel BatistaTyler WalkerJesse English

  42. JayB - Jan 28, 2011 at 1:24 PM

    At the end of 2010 season these guys were on the roster…..amazing how bad this team was….I hope our replacements do not fall into the same old trap of Getting Paid to Lose and Bitch about playing time doing it…..p Joe Bisenius2B Adam Kennedy LF Willie Harris OF Kevin Mench P Jesse English LHP Scott Olsen RHP Tyler Walker.

  43. NatinBeantown - Jan 28, 2011 at 2:46 PM

    I've seen a lot of discussion that the catching surplus may allow Norris to move to 1B for the long term. But I read (from Sue Dinem? K Law?) some commentary that Norris's bat is special for a catcher, but only so-so for a 1B, making a shift unproductive–he'd have way more value as a C, with one of he, Ramos or Flores getting traded. Which is more likely? Has anyone in the organization ever actually talked about a position switch for Norris?

  44. JayB - Jan 28, 2011 at 2:55 PM

    Yes and Rizzo has said he will stay at Catcher. I see him being traded in the next 12 months at with a goal of getting peak value out of his potential. This will have to be soon because he is a very poor catcher at this point given he has been focusing on defensive skills for several years now. He just does not have it as a catcher in my view…..hopefully he will a 1B or SP prospect in return.

  45. Name Withheld - Jan 28, 2011 at 2:58 PM

    JayB said… "Adam K should have been much better for the team and Rick A. and Harrison, Cora all might also fall into that trap…..so many players have when the get to Natstown. Why is that?"Might be because of the nonchalant attitude to winning that I heard existed, to some extent, in the clubhouse. If true, that should not be a problem in 2011.

  46. N. Cognito - Jan 28, 2011 at 3:02 PM

    Catchers generally develop slower than other positions, so there's still some time with Norris. However, with the surplus we appear to have behind the plate, trading Norris would not be a bad move.

  47. NatinBeantown - Jan 28, 2011 at 3:15 PM

    JayB,Egads. That's frightening. The nightmare of the Willie-Willy-Willie OF is over. The difference between last year and this is going to be tremendous.

  48. Anonymous8 - Jan 28, 2011 at 3:15 PM

    Did Hairston change his name to Harrison and not let the rest of us know but Ochocinco?

  49. JayB - Jan 28, 2011 at 3:20 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  50. JayB - Jan 28, 2011 at 3:21 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  51. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 28, 2011 at 3:28 PM

    As an ex catcher I can say with confidence that the skills for the position can be improved through extremely hard work but that improvement is limited to the athletic ability of the individual. If the base is flawed, the improvement is minimal.One can make themselves serviceable but the footwork required to properly block pitches, position oneself for making quick and accurate throws and being able to quickly vacate the catching position for fielding bunts is usually a God given talent.

  52. N. Cognito - Jan 28, 2011 at 3:28 PM

    JayB said… "Is that true N.Cognito for defensive skills"You may have me there. My education on the subject is many years old. It definitely takes longer to learn to hit. I might have transposed that delayed learning curve onto defensive skills.However, he's still only 22 for the 2011 season. 4 pro years or not, that is young. The key for the Nats is his attitude towards learning. Is his brain a sponge or an impervious rock?

  53. JayB - Jan 28, 2011 at 3:30 PM

    Is that really true of defensive skills NCog….Norris has some really poor mechanics in just setting up and catching a strike. (side note: in that AFL Champs game this fall he had 3 balls go right by him….just strikes he never got a glove up on).I know that catchers are slower to develop hitting at times due to all the other things they have to worry about during a game and the fact they get less AB's in a year due to rest days…..but Norris's biggest problem is just catching a ball. He should have been able to fix these issues by now right….he is in what his 4th year of pro ball?

  54. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 28, 2011 at 3:31 PM

    And the ability to earn the trust of a pitching staff in calling a game is another whole different skill set.

  55. Anonymous - Jan 28, 2011 at 3:31 PM

    Any rumors if Martis or Maxwell will be claimed by other teams or are we just going to resign them?

  56. JayB - Jan 28, 2011 at 3:32 PM

    Sorry my bad on Hairston…once in a while I miss a few typos…..what you do not know is all the ones I FIX!

  57. JayB - Jan 28, 2011 at 3:34 PM

    Njack….that part of the game does take time for most catchers….but not the issue with Norris is it…He just does not set up and get his target set….his glove is turned down and moving even as the pitch is half way home.

  58. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 28, 2011 at 3:39 PM

    Amazing that an organization that boasts the employment of the likes of Bob Boone and Pat Corrales has catchers that can't properly set up and receive. I'll spend some time over at the minor league area and watch him. I've never seen him catch other than the championship game in the AFL. And I certainly wasn't impressed with his effort in that game.

  59. N. Cognito - Jan 28, 2011 at 3:54 PM

    Maybe the Nats had Matt LeCroy working with Norris.

  60. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 28, 2011 at 3:56 PM

    That thought crossed my mind. He does manage the Florida Fall Instructional League team.

  61. JayB - Jan 28, 2011 at 4:03 PM

    I'll see you there…..my first visit is always to the early MLB camp before games but I plan to come back a second time as in past years and spend each morning at the back fields then into the stateum for the MLB game in the afternoon….no better way to spend a March day…..learn a lot from just listening to the coaching and FO staff talk about what they are seeing…..Frankly, that is why I know Rizzo is not impressed with the old draft picks when he worked for Jimbo or Tim Foli's skills as a teacher..I over heard Foli getting taken to the shed one day on a cut off play that did not work right two innings in a row.

  62. JayB - Jan 28, 2011 at 4:10 PM

    NJack,I have seen them work with Norris….Pat C just drove away in his cart after 30 mins….no matter what they tried he just could not get it……That is what I am hoping no other team finds out….at least until we trade him!

  63. Anonymous - Jan 28, 2011 at 9:08 PM

    Maxwell is 100% healthy and had LASIK. I'm very interested to see what he can do in 2011!

  64. Anonymous - Jan 28, 2011 at 9:17 PM

    Oh and Maxwell has a fourth option bc of injury time.

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