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Nats have 26 minor league free agents

Nov 6, 2013, 12:46 PM EDT

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The beginning of this offseason saw Dan Haren and Chad Tracy officially cut loose, but it also included a group of Nats’ minor leaguers granted free agency. Players become minor league free agents after teams use up their six renewal years, leaving them without contracts for the next season.

Matt Eddy of Baseball America has a list of the 550 minor league free agents for this winter, and on it are 26 members of the Nationals organization.

Here is the list of Nats:

Right-handed Pitchers (8): (Syracuse) Mike Broadway, Caleb Clay, Mike Crotta, Cole Kimball, Jeff Mandel, Ryan Tatusko, Chris Young, (Potomac) Brian Broderick

Left-handed Pitchers (3): (Harrisburg) Bill Bray, Patrick McCoy, (Potomac) Josh Smoker

Catchers (4): (Syracuse) Carlos Maldonado, (Harrisburg) Brian Jeroloman, (Potomac) Sean McCauley, Beau Seabury

First basemen (2): (Syracuse) Chris Marrero, Jimmy VanOstrand

Second basemen (2): (Syracuse) Will Rhymes, (Potomac) Michael Gilmartin

Third basemen (3): (Harrisburg) Melvin Dorta, Carlos Rivero, (Hagerstown) Carlos Alvarez

Shorstops (1): (Syracuse) Josh R. Johnson

Outfielders (3): (Syracuse) Jason Michaels, Chris Rahl, (Harrisburg) Jerad Head

Several names stand out on the Nationals’ list, including former first round pick Chris Marrero. The first baseman was taken 15th overall in 2006 and has yet to reach his potential.

The Nats also appear ready to part ways with Cole Kimball who in 2011 looked like a solid relief pitching prospect. Kimball pitched in 12 games during the 2011 season in Washington and held a 1.93 ERA. Since his career has been derailed by injuries.

You will also notice the name Carlos Alvarez, who used to go by the name Esmailyn Gonzalez, or ‘Smiley.’ Alvarez was signed as an amateur free agent by the Nationals in 2006 before it was discovered he had fabricated both his name and age to get the contract.

The Nats appear to be done with pitchers Bill Bray and Chris Young as well. Both veterans were expected to compete for roles last season and it never quite worked out for either of them.

Click here for the full list of minor league free agents around the league.

  1. Faraz Shaikh - Nov 6, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    “has yet to reach his potential”
    sorry to kick him when he is down but is there any potential to reach anymore?

    • Theophilus T.S. - Nov 6, 2013 at 1:50 PM

      That’s a rhetorical question, right? Marrero hasn’t had any potential for years.

      I don’t intend to be mean but, why do we care about this list? The powers that be have conceded the obvious, none of these guys is going to be a major leaguer. Is Kimball going to show up in 2028 as the next Diomedes Olivo? I doubt it. Like trying to find meaning in a broken headlight. About some of them the most you can say is, “If they’d been smart, they could have included this guy in a trade [that wasn't made].” The rest, not even that.

  2. Section 222 - Nov 6, 2013 at 1:17 PM

    Several former favorites of peric on that list. I’m shocked that Jeff Mandel isn’t in our rotation.

  3. jd - Nov 6, 2013 at 1:47 PM

    Faraz,

    From last thread. The problem with Tanaka is that you have to bid for the right to sign him (ALA Darvish) something to the tune of $100 mil and then you have to sign him. I am not sure he’s worth it. Most if not all the free agents listed don’t look to be better than Haren or EJax and some would want multi year contracts.

    The attraction to Price is that it’s not often you are able to get a front line pitcher in his prime. I like our prospects but they are after all prospects, Price is the real deal. With a rotation of Stras, JZim, Gio and Price and an overall young core of regulars I think we would have a solid window of about 5 years where we should not miss the playoffs. That sounds pretty good to me.

    I am also not in the Detwiler camp and not just because of durability issues. I just don’t think he’s anything special. Very John Lannan like.

    • tcostant - Nov 6, 2013 at 2:44 PM

      Darvish was worth it, I’m not sure Tanaka is either. I saw Darvish pitch live at the world baseball classic in San Deigo in 2009 and I knew he would be an ace. But one thing to consider, the major difference between Darvish and Tanaka is that they are both young (25 years old for Tanaka), so that is very different that the Nomo and Dice-K’s of the world, who came here much later.

  4. David Proctor - Nov 6, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    From the other thread:

    Here’s the issue I have: monster trades like this are rarely fair. The Rays absolutely screwed the Royals in the James Shields trade. Any trade for a big-name guy is going to involve Giolito and/or Rendon. I understand Scherzer will be cheaper than Price, but either way we’re going to get screwed. Both Rendon and Giolito are cost-controllable, extremely high upside guys. I don’t feel comfortable dealing them. I know, I know “only a prospect” or whatever, but I don’t care. Especially for Price, whose strikeout rates and velocity are on the decline. He was still very good in 2013, but will he be in 2017? I don’t think you even consider trading for Price unless you lock him up long-term. And then that creates who separate cast of issues. Will we have the money to lock up our own guys? Go out and get a position player if needed?

    I think at some point you have to value the talent in your system without stripping it bare. Giolito will be a legit ace. His curveball is mid-80s for god’s sake. He could be better than Strasburg.

    What makes me even further opposed is is that our pitching was NOT the issue in 2012 or 2013. Even with Dan Haren who was awful, our pitching was not the issue. We could easily upgrade on Haren with an Arroyo-type guy and not lose a prospect or draft pick. Our offense was the issue. If you’re going to deal your farm system, and I’d rather we not, at least do it for an impact bat.

  5. Theophilus T.S. - Nov 6, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    Detwiler has talent Lannan couldn’t have dreamed of. Whether he can make it through a full season is an open question, toward which I lean on the negative. Just don’t compare him to Lannan.

    Paying $100MM for a Japanese pitcher is insane. As likely Matsuzake as Darvish. If you have raging hormones compelling you to spend $100MM on a pitcher not already your own, go trade for Scherzer.

    • tcostant - Nov 6, 2013 at 2:50 PM

      Paying $100M for any pitchers is risky. As noted above the difference between Tanaka and Darvish is they both came here when they were 25 years old or less. Matsuzake and Nomo were both much older with a lot more miles. I think most think Tanaka will end up with the Yankees as they need a young top of the rotation starter and the posting fee doesn’t count against the luxury tax.

  6. Section 222 - Nov 6, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    DP and jd eloquently lay out the two sides of the coin. Glad I don’t have to choose between them. I will point out in response to DP that whether or not pitching was the issue in ’12 or ’13 is irrelevant. The impact of having another ace in our rotation would be huge. Giolito might be an ace in the making, but he’s not going to be in the rotation until 2016 at least. Our window with the current Big Three is now, not then.

    We have a team right now that can contend for all the marbles, and for several years to come. This is not about selling the farm for one shot. It’s about using our assets to create a potential team of the decade. We can’t constantly hedge our bets for the hope that a prospect will pan out down the road. I say do it.

    I guess I chose between them after all. Sorry DP.

    • David Proctor - Nov 6, 2013 at 2:33 PM

      Strabsurg and Gio will both be here in 2016. If you lock up Zimmermann, then the big 3 will absolutely still be around when Giolito reaches the majors. I’m not sure it would be 2016 anyway. Baseball America thinks Giolito will fly through the minor league system. I think we could see him in 2015. Maybe not to start the year, but mid-year, like what the Pirates did with Gerritt Cole? Absolutely.

      Are you getting an ace by trading for Price? His ERA this past year was 3.33. His strikeouts were down. His velocity has decreased for the third straight season. You’re going to have to pay him, what, 150 mil (?) to lock him up long-term? And there’s really no guarantee at all that he will be the same guy in a few years–especially if those disturbing trends continue.

      Scherzer has a career 3.67 ERA. His WHIP this season was 0.970, it has never in his career been lower than 1.232 before. Except for his abbreviated rookie season in 2008, he’s never had an ERA below 3.50 (including 2 seasons with an ERA over 4). That doesn’t exactly scream ace to me. It screams a guy who had a phenomenal season, but will likely regress to his career norms next year. Pitchers don’t “find it” in their age 29 season.

      I think the upside of a guy like Giolito outweighs the prospect of both those guys who have serious question marks attached to him. We can and should upgrade the rotation. I don’t think we need a Scherzer or Price to do so and I think it will hurt us long-term more than it helps us short-term.

      • tcostant - Nov 6, 2013 at 2:53 PM

        I think Geo will be here a while, they are a bunch of team options in his deal. Realistic, I think ony one of Strabsurg or Zimmermann will be locked up long-term. My guess is that is Zimmermann since his contract is up first; I think Stan is waiting for the day he can land Strabsurg for the Dodgers.

      • Sonny G 10 - Nov 6, 2013 at 2:55 PM

        +1

  7. tcostant - Nov 6, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    Cole Kimball is the name that jumps off the page. Chris Marrero seemed like a 4A player, never quite good enough to stick in the bigs, but to go for Triple A. I hope they can resign Cole Kimball and to a much less extent Will Rhymes.

  8. jd - Nov 6, 2013 at 2:53 PM

    David,

    Nothing against Giolito but the comparison to Cole is not valid. Cole was a dominant starter in college and it took him 2 years to make it to the big leagues. Giolito is 18 years old, has not pitched anywhere higher than high school until this year, is coming off TJ and even now has only reached a rookie A level which means he is 5 levels away from the majors.

    A.J Cole followed a similar path and dominated until he got to High A which he had to repeat in order to graduate to AA. Cole is still a very good prospect but my point is you are doing a fair bit of extrapolating with Giolito. He may be an ace one day or he may be Rick Porcello. David Price has been a 4 – 4.5 WAR pitcher every year since 2010 and he’s only 28 years old.

    Don’t be so sure that everyone who is here now will be here in 2016 or after. There are injuries, trades, free agency etc. The Royals have been named organization of the year for years sporting the best farm system and they have how many championships, playoff years to show for it?

    • David Proctor - Nov 6, 2013 at 3:11 PM

      AJ Cole was/is nowhere near the prospect that Giolito is though. Many scouts believe that Giolito’s curveball is a plus-plus MLB pitch RIGHT NOW. That’s extremely rare for a guy his age. The fastball has always been there, but for the curve to be so far along is impressive. The knock on Cole has always been inconsistent breaking stuff. Not the case with Giolito (who is 19 now, btw).

      The Royals traded their top prospect for a proven MLB pitcher who they now control for one more season. What did that get them? Meanwhile, the Rays control Wil Meyers, who looks like he is going to be a superstar, for 6 more seasons.

      There are certain guys that I think should be untouchable in a farm system. I think Wil Myers should have been untouchable for the Royals. I think Giolito should be for us. And of course, Giolito alone will not fetch Price. So we would have to give up another quality prospect on top of that.

      If you continue to sell the farm, you end up like the Phillies instead of like the Cardinals. Have faith in your scouting and player development staff.

      • tcostant - Nov 6, 2013 at 3:25 PM

        David – Thanks. I keep reading here how the Royals got jobed, but they were playing meaningful games in September for the first time in decades. I think they got what they wanted.

  9. jd - Nov 6, 2013 at 3:32 PM

    David,

    A) It’s not bad being like the Phillies have been for about 5 years. Their problem is that their GM didn’t realize that the window is closed and it’s time to start building for the next window.

    B) The Royals have had multiple ‘big stars’ graduate such as Moustakas, Hosmer, Gordon but they never reached above mediocrity. They decided to make a move to try and contend and guess what they did. Now I think that if you are trading a Wil Meyers you should get something better than James Shields and you should only make trades like that if you are 1 or 2 players away from having the opportunity to go all the way. The Royals were wrong on both fronts.

    C) The comparison between Meyers and Giolito again is flawed because Meyers was almost major league ready when the trade happened, if Giolito had dominated at AA and was a small step away from the bigs I would almost agree with you. But I think we are still talking 3 more years and that is if everything goes well.

    D) a really good comparison to Giolito might be Jamieson Taillon who was dradted in the Harper class (2nd over all) out of high school and is still a year away from the big leagues by all accounts.

    • David Proctor - Nov 6, 2013 at 3:39 PM

      In your scenario where we get Price, are you locking him up long-term or giving up a quality prospect for 2 seasons? If you lock him long-term, you realize that price will be well over $100M, yes? How does this factor in to extensions with JZimm or Desi? Or depending on the contract length, even a guy like Stras or Harper?

      If you’re not locking him up long-term, then you’re willing to trade 6 years of a potential ace a couple of years down the line for 2 years of a potential (I say that because I remain concerned about the diminishing velocity and strikeouts) ace? The window can bust shut in a big hurry if you don’t keep replenishing your system. Our pitching right now is good enough to win a World Series. You can never have enough pitching so it wouldn’t be BAD more. But there comes a point when the return on investment is less. I think the return on investment for us just doesn’t make it worthwhile, particularly when giving up a quality prospect like Giolito (and again, it would take more than Giolito. It could even take Giolito and Rendon, knowing how the Rays tend to victimize their trade partners).

  10. Section 222 - Nov 6, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    DP, it’s pretty clear the real reason you won’t do the deals we’ve been discussing is that you are not that high on Price or Scherzer. Would you do it for Kershaw or King Felix, or is Giolito such a sure superstar in the making that that would be a bad idea too? You placing a lot of eggs in the basket of a guy who’s hardly thrown any professional pitches.

    We won’t know how good Giolito is for several years. (Do you really think he’s going to be starting for the Nats in 2015 at age 21?) But we know that Price and Scherzer are recent Cy Young winners (well, soon to be in the case of Scherzer). We’ll see if Scherzer regresses to his career norm this year, and Price deteriorates as you suggest. I’m skeptical of that analysis. Both guys are young enough to have several more great years.

    For me the bottom line is that after 8 out of 9 seasons rooting for a team that didn’t make the playoffs I’m not willing to be patient any more. I want the Nats to get to the World Series, not win the Baseball Prospectus best farm system title. The list of minor league FAs is a sobering reminder of how, as jd says, prospects are just prospects. That’s not lacking faith in our player development staff, it’s being realistic. And it’s recognizing that sometimes they are most valuable as assets to acquire proven players who can help you win now. In my mind, the youth of our Big 3 makes Giolito tradeable for the right return.

    • David Proctor - Nov 6, 2013 at 3:43 PM

      Jose Fernandez pitched at a Cy Young caliber level at age 20. Michael Wacha is 22. I absolutely think that Giolito could contribute at age 21.

      I would trade for Kershaw, yes. He’s 25, has always been great and has shown absolutely no signs of slowing down (because he’s 25).

      But Kershaw is one of the only guys I would make a trade for.

  11. jd - Nov 6, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    It doesn’t look like we are about to change each other’s minds but still it was a fun exercise.

  12. trochlis318 - Nov 6, 2013 at 4:07 PM

    Now this is a possibility, we trade rendon for Scherzer, remember rizzo drafted scherzer, and then sign cano 8 years 200, and extend scherzer, don’t wipe out the farm, and significanly up grade the team at least for now

    • Faraz Shaikh - Nov 6, 2013 at 4:37 PM

      and file for bankruptcy?

      • trochlis318 - Nov 6, 2013 at 4:45 PM

        that would put us maybe 140mil?

      • Section 222 - Nov 6, 2013 at 4:47 PM

        Funny, but it will take a lot more than that to bankrupt the Lerners.

    • Faraz Shaikh - Nov 6, 2013 at 4:58 PM

      That was meant as a joke.

      but I think that’s too high budget once you factor in JZ and Desi extensions and SS, Clip, etc arbitrations. I don’t think we can afford $25 MM for Cano and likely $15 MM for Scherzer.

  13. Faraz Shaikh - Nov 6, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    tcostant, nomo and daisuke were about the same age. I favor Tanaka mainly because his posting fee does not count towards our yearly budget and of course the potential of landing an ace without any cost to your system.

    • tcostant - Nov 6, 2013 at 4:47 PM

      My point is nomo and daisuke were both older and pitched a lot more innings in Japan when they came to the US than Darvish was when he came here and Tanaka now.

      • tcostant - Nov 6, 2013 at 4:56 PM

        Yep both were 27 years old when he had his ML debut. So if you get Tanaka and sight him for 5 or 6 years, your getting a pitcher in his prime before the cliff hits. you hope.

      • Faraz Shaikh - Nov 6, 2013 at 5:20 PM

        come on, you know 1 year age difference is older literally but not much for 25-26 year old players. and darvish actually pitched more innings than daisuke in first eight seasons (one MLB and seven NBP compared to eight NPB seasons). For me, comparison must be made of their walk, hit, and K rates.

  14. Section 222 - Nov 6, 2013 at 5:03 PM

    Giolito contribute at 21? Ok, sure. But he’ll be in his age 20 season in 2015, right?

    After a September callup, Price pitched in the bullpen for Tampa Bay in their World Series run in 2008 at age 22. I’ll be thrilled if Giolito is our secret weapon, Price style, or Wacha style, in the World Series of 2015. But first we have to get there. Yes, there’s Fernandez. But Stras made his first big league start at 21, Gio at 22, JZnn at 23. And none of them pitched a full major league season that year. Giolito is coming off TJ surgery. I’m glad you are so high on him because you seem to know a lot about these players, but I think you’re making a pretty big leap to suggest he’ll have much of an impact in 2015.

  15. jd - Nov 6, 2013 at 5:06 PM

    David,

    One last point. When you draft players it is understood that there are several avenues they could take:

    A) they could go through development and reach the big club.
    B) They could fail.
    C) they could be traded for other assets, this does not necessarily represent a failure in development, it’s just one way to use your assets.

  16. jd - Nov 6, 2013 at 5:17 PM

    Sec222,

    Exactly. Giolito is likely to start at Hagerstown in 2014 and is even likely to dominate at that level. If he finishes the season up at Potomac and has success there that would be phenomenal. Again, AJ Cole was a pretty hot prospect coming out of high school and he was flying high until he reached high A ball. He eventually (2 years) graduated to AA and even did very well there but even now he’s no sure thing.

    Now, Giolito could be better than Cole but my point is that there is no way you can be sure about someone who is so many levels away.

  17. sjm308 - Nov 6, 2013 at 5:20 PM

    I love how people here are reluctant to spend the Lerners money. I, on the other hand can’t wait to do that. I agree that it won’t happen but give me Scherzer, Cano and a $200 million payroll right now and I will roll the dice on everything else. Again, it won’t happen but it is not because the Lerners can’t afford it.

    I also fall in the camp of rooting for losing teams since way back in the 50′s. I could care less about prospects, I want to see a World Series Game in person. I don’t care if Price fails miserably after one year if he produces and gets us ONE World Series. You have no proof that Giolito or any prospect on any team will succeed. Of course you have no proof that Price or Max will continue to perform either. That is what is great about the off season. I am all for spending the Lerners money and not waiting on prospects.

    Go Nats!!

    • Section 222 - Nov 6, 2013 at 5:35 PM

      If I had seen this before I wrote my post at 5:31, I would have just said:

      ” +1″
      :-)

  18. Section 222 - Nov 6, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    jd, I wanted to associate myself with your comment about the Phillies. Almost all teams ebb and flow, even the best of them. Very few are dominant for years and years at a time. I suppose you could put the Red Sox in that category after they dispatched their jinx, given three WS wins in the last decade, but even they had some very disappointing seasons. The Giants won the World Series two out of three years, but fell apart last year.

    So it’s not really fair to portray the situation faced by the Phillies as something to be avoided at all costs. They did, after all, appear in two World Series in a row and win one of them. That’s a whole lot better than the Nats have ever done.

    Some teams never get to the place the the Nats are at now — poised to contend for a world championship. And some that get that far, never actually deliver. That includes the Nats, so far. I don’t want to be a team that’s constantly looking at a window to compete three or four years down the road. I love watching baseball, but I love it even more when we’re winning. 2012 was amazing. Let’s not wait until 2016 to experience that again.

    • David Proctor - Nov 6, 2013 at 5:45 PM

      The question of course becomes: how can we do it now and continue to do it in 2016. Playoffs are a crapshoot. That’s all there is to it. The more times you can get there, the more likely you are to finally break through and win it all. I would argue that setting ourselves up for future is the best way to ensure we finally get that ring. Should that be at the cost of the present? No. So I think we should go out and get a free agent starter to help us now while keeping an elite prospect who could help us down the road.

      • Section 222 - Nov 6, 2013 at 5:56 PM

        On that we can definitely agree. I’m not eager to part with Giolito. I just wouldn’t rule out trading him for the right return. And yes, let’s definitely get a free agent innings eater starter, keeping Roark and Jordan as injury insurance and spot start or long relief options, either in AAA or our bullpen.

        Rizzo is saying we’re in a position to make a Gio-like trade. Not sure who he’s thinking about, but that would be fine with me.
        http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/nationals-journal/wp/2013/11/06/the-nationals-option-to-trade-for-a-starter/

  19. Joe Seamhead - Nov 6, 2013 at 5:43 PM

    Well, I am of the school that says that we have a staff right here that could rival the heyday of the Braves or the Orioles.Knock Strasburg, Zimmermann, Gio, Detwiler if you must, but one good healthy year fromthem is going to give sjm308 his wish. My prediction? We go to the playoffs in 2014. We win it all in 2015, with three of the four of those guys as our starters. Strasburg will be the ace. And I discovered a long time ago that pixie dust really doesn’t let you fly.

  20. Joe Seamhead - Nov 6, 2013 at 5:47 PM

    sec 222, I disagree regarding the Phillies. Rubin Amaro has run them in to the old folks home. They are a franchise that is seriously hopeless right now. The Mets and Marlins will win before they do.

    • jd - Nov 6, 2013 at 5:52 PM

      Joe S,

      No question that Amaro has not handled the closing of the window well, hoping against hope that the old folks can do it one more time. But in fairness, they did make 2 world series in a row and were the dominant team in the east for about 5 years. That’s not bad.

    • Section 222 - Nov 6, 2013 at 5:59 PM

      I totally agree the Phillies are in bad shape now. But they played in two World Series. The Nats have played in zero. I’m not satisfied with that and I doubt you are either.

      Fortunately, we don’t have a Ryan Howard type contract. Well, we kind of do, but Werth is a better player than Howard right now.

  21. jd - Nov 6, 2013 at 5:48 PM

    Sec222,

    Exactly right. When you get real close, that’s when it gets tricky. That’s when you have to have the cajones to make the one or 2 deals which puts you over the top.

    BTW, many here were alarmed and upset when Rizzo sent Peacock, Milone, Cole and Norris to Oakland for Gio. So now Milone is a bottom of the rotation starter, Norris is a fringe backup catcher, Peacock is at the bottom of the Houston rotation and Cole is back with the Nats. It’s the same everywhere, fans always over value their own prospects. Thank god Rizzo has the confidence to pull the trigger if there’s something good to be had.

    • David Proctor - Nov 6, 2013 at 5:50 PM

      None of those guys, Cole included, were the caliber of prospect as Giolito. If you want to give up a Cole, Goodwin and Purke or something like that for Price, I would make that trade.

      • David Proctor - Nov 6, 2013 at 5:51 PM

        But the Rays won’t take it.

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