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Nationals release RHP Yunesky Maya

Nov 23, 2013, 11:27 AM EDT

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

Yunesky Maya’s time with the Washington Nationals has finally come to an end.

The team released the Cuban pitcher on Saturday after four years in the organization. Matt Eddy of Baseball America first reported the news.

Maya pitched one game for the Nats in 2013 before being designated for assignment. He was called up because of injuries and recorded just one out in his only appearance. That game was against the Giants in San Francisco on May 21, when Maya let up a walkoff home run to Pablo Sandoval in the bottom of the tenth inning.

Maya’s final appearance for the Nationals was a dramatic finale for the right-hander who signed a $6 million deal over four years in August of 2010. The Nats brought him in as an amateur free agent after he defected from his native Cuba.

Maya entered the organization with high hopes after being one of the best pitchers in Cuban baseball, but his success never translated in the majors. The 32-year-old leaves the Nationals with a 5.80 ERA through 16 total games, a span of 59 innings over three seasons.

The Nats first called up Maya in 2010 when he went 0-3 with a 5.88 ERA in five starts. He returned the following season to post a 5.23 ERA in ten games, five of them in relief.

Maya has enjoyed moderate success in the minor leagues over the years with a career 4.17 ERA through four seasons. After being DFA’d in May, he was returned to Syracuse after other teams passed on him. Given there was no interest in Maya then, it may be tough for him to find a new home. Maybe someone gives him a minor league deal late in the offseason to see what he can do in spring training.

  1. nats128 - Nov 23, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    Another player who has had 9 lives with this organization. Adios y buenos suerte Yunesky.

  2. Section 222 - Nov 23, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    Good thing Chase and Mark didn’t do a Roster Review for him.

  3. karlkolchak - Nov 23, 2013 at 12:14 PM

    Finally, our long Cuban national nightmare is over.

    (I’ll see myself out)

  4. ehay2k - Nov 23, 2013 at 12:31 PM

    Baseball is such a mystery – how was Maya even a mediocre pitcher in Cuba, let alone one of the best? He was craptastic in the majors, and just passable in the minors. I don’t feel as sorry for him as I do the Nats. With his $6M, he is set. And unlike even the wealthiest of his comrades still pitching in Cuba, he can buy a car made in this century!

  5. sjm308 - Nov 23, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    This really was one of the big misses in our brief history. I agree with others that he never ever showed the potential for success at this level. He was barely adequate in AAA and the fact that everyone else passed is telling. I am guessing someone will gamble with a minor league contract since most teams need organizational depth but I am happy it will not be us.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Nov 23, 2013 at 12:47 PM

      Yes, probably Minor League filler for some team. Many teams like guys like him to sell some tickets since he has MLB experience.

      • Section 222 - Nov 23, 2013 at 1:29 PM

        What do you mean by “sell some tickets”? Surely, Yunesky Maya is not a draw of any kind at this point, even on a minor league team.

        It’s sad to think that Maya was the Nats’ answer to not going all in on Aroldis Chapman.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Nov 23, 2013 at 3:03 PM

        222, yah my attempt at being funny didn’t work.

  6. Doc - Nov 23, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    He is still owed some $1.5 million on his $6 mm contract.

    The Nats’ Lottery continues!

    Lucky dude!

    • sjm308 - Nov 23, 2013 at 1:43 PM

      Doc: I thought this was the last year of that contract.

      • Doc - Nov 23, 2013 at 5:38 PM

        You could be right sjm.

        I just thought that since he got the prize in the fall of 2010, he will continue to reap on yearly pro-rata basis.

        Hope he put some of it in the bank, ’cause he ain’t gettin’ anymore!

  7. Drew - Nov 23, 2013 at 2:49 PM

    Maya Con Dios.

  8. rogieshan - Nov 23, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if we were to find out later that Maya is really 42 yrs-old!

  9. Section 222 - Nov 23, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    Theo posted an interesting question yesterday — which starters were most victimized by our less than stellar bullpen last season? We had a total of 21 blown saves in 2013 (compared to 17 in 2012). It took a little while to compile, but here’s the verdict — Gio was deprived of a possible win 6 times, Stras 3, Haren 3, Det 2, Stammen 2, Jordan 2, Roark 2, JZnn 1.

    Here’s the trip down the not so happy memory lane, though it’s worth noting that the Nats won 12 of the 21 games, and 5 of those wins were vultured by the guy who blew the save:

    Soriano (6)
    Apr. 6 @ CIN, Nats won 7-6 — Nats led 5-3 in 9th. Pitcher of record was Detwiler (6 IP, 1R, 6H).
    May 17 @ SDP, W 6-5 — Nats led 5-3 in 9th. PoR Gio (6.1 IP, 3R, 6H) (Soriano vultured the win).
    May 22 @ SFG, L 4-2 (the infamous “my 4 year old is better than Harper” game) – – Nats led 2-1 in 9th. PoR Strasburg (7 IP, 1R, 5H).
    July 13 @ MIA, L 2-1 (Stanton ties game with HR) — Nats led 1-0 in 9th. PoR Haren (6 IP, 0R, 3H).
    Aug 15 vs. SFG, L 4-3. Nats led 3-1 in 9th. PoR Haren (6 IP, 1R, 3H).
    Aug 17 vs. ATL, W 8-7 (Stras ejected, Haren gets save in the 15th), Nats led 7-5 in 9th. PoR Roark (4 IP, 0R, 1H).

    Storen (5)
    Apr. 12 vs. ATL, L 6-4 (the infamous Zim error in the 9th game) — Nats led 4-2 in 9th. PoR Detwiler (7 IP, 1R, 7H).
    May 12 vs. CHC, L 2-1 — Nats led 1-0 in 8th. PoR Gio (7 IP, 0R, 2H).
    May 22 @ SFG, W 2-1 — Nats led 1-0 in 8th. PoR Gio (7.1 IP, 1R, 4H).
    July 5 vs. MIL, W 8-5 — Nats led 5-2 in 7th. PoR Jordan (5.2 IP, 2R, 6H) (Drew vultured the win).
    July 20 vs. LAD, L 3-1, Nats led 1-0 in 7th. PoR Gio (6 IP, 0R, 4H).

    Clippard (3)
    Sept. 2 @ PHI, L 3-2 — Nats led 2-1 in 8th. PoR Stras (6 IP, 1R, 2H).
    Sept. 17 vs. ATL, W 6-5 (Kimbrel blows save for ATL day after Navy Yard bombing) — Nats led 3-2 in 8th. PoR Haren (6 IP, 1R, 3H).
    Sept. 22 vs. MIA, W 5-4 — Nats led 4-3 in 8th. PoR Stras (6 IP, 3R, 6H).

    Mattheus (3)
    Apr. 20 @ NYM, W 7-6 (Harper leads off 8th with HR) — Nats led 6-5 in 7th. PoR Stammen (2 IP, 0R, 0H).
    Aug. 28 vs. MIA, W 4-3 — Nats led 2-1 in 6th. PoR Stammen (3 IP, 1R, 5H).
    Sept. 29 @ ARI, L 3-2 — Nats led 2-1 in 8th. PoR Roark (7 IP, 1R, 3H).

    Abad (1)
    Aug. 4 @ MIL, L 8-5 — Nats led 4-2 in 6th. PoR Jordan (5.1 IP, 4R, 4H)

    Krol (1)
    July 25 @ PIT, W 9-7 (Harper walk-off after Knorr hooks Soriano in the 9th) — Nats led 7-5 in 9th. PoR Gio (5.2 IP, 3R, 8H) (Krol vultures win).

    Ohlendorf (1)
    July 6 vs. SDP, W 5-4 — Nats led 3-1 in 6th. PoR JZnn (5.1 IP, 3R, 5H) (Ohlie vultures win).

    Stammen (1)
    Apr. 9 vs. CHW, W 8-7 — Nats led 2-1 in 6th. PoR Gio (5 IP, 1R, 4H) (Stammen vultures win).

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Nov 23, 2013 at 4:25 PM

      Thanks for the analysis. Some of those are difficult to relive. Aug 17 was a good ending and at least showed the character of Haren.

    • Sonny G 10 - Nov 23, 2013 at 7:43 PM

      +1 222

  10. Theophilus T.S. - Nov 23, 2013 at 5:24 PM

    Thanks Section 222 for the hard work. I am in your debt. So is Gonzalez, towards whom I am now inclined to be more charitable. Not much mind you, as those numbers could have been turned around if he could pitch deeper into games. But somewhat more charitable. Imagine how we would be regarding Haren’s season if he’d won a couple of those games.

    • Doc - Nov 23, 2013 at 5:41 PM

      Yeah, ditto me Section 222—great effort!!

      Thank you vury much, ‘appreciate it.

    • nats128 - Nov 23, 2013 at 8:55 PM

      Theophilus you are on point there. Gio’s high pitch counts have caused him to be pulled early to many times. He had 10 starts he didnt even make it out of the 6th inning and 19 times he didnt make it past the 7th inning.

      OTOH, Jordan Zimmermann had 7 starts he didnt make it out of the 6th inning and 13 times he didnt make it past the 7th inning.

      Thats a difference of 6 starts or about 20% of the season Gio was handing the ball to the front end of the bullpen which almost always spells trouble and you can only count on 80% of the time a good bullpen can keep your lead for a 3 innings save.

  11. David Proctor - Nov 23, 2013 at 5:47 PM

    Looks like McCann is a Yankee. 5 years/$80M.

  12. David Proctor - Nov 23, 2013 at 6:02 PM

    Also, a very interesting article from Bill Ladson. In it, Mike Rizzo says that Ross Detwiler could move to the bullpen in 2014 and he also says that he’s begun making overtures to Desi and JZimm re: contract extensions. He says he doesn’t think anything will get done before Spring Training, which makes sense since that’s when a lot of contract extensions go down.

    • letswin3 - Nov 23, 2013 at 11:28 PM

      I like the concept of at least starting off the season with Det in the pen. It solves some pen questions, while allowing Det to ease back into higher pitch counts. It would also provide a starter, if needed because of an injury. The only negative with it rests with needing 2 starters (4 & 5) to start the season instead of only 1 if he remains a starter.

  13. Section 222 - Nov 23, 2013 at 6:09 PM

    Good riddance to McCann. I’ll be happy not to see his ugly mug and holier than though attitude until next October, at the earliest. I’ll bet Jose Fernandez is glad to see him go too. Or maybe he was looking forward to plunking him next year.

    • David Proctor - Nov 23, 2013 at 6:24 PM

      5/85 with a vesting option for a 6th year that could bring it to 6/100. It also has a full no-trade clause in it. Yikes.

      • Sonny G 10 - Nov 23, 2013 at 7:42 PM

        I hope the Yankees live to regret this contract. Could work out for them though, if McCann is used mostly as a DH.

  14. Eugene in Oregon - Nov 23, 2013 at 8:43 PM

    Is it wrong of me to now hope that Alex Rodriguez somehow manages to beat the rap just enough to start the season with New York? Just so that he and Mr. ‘Protecting the Integrity of the Game’ McCann can share the same clubhouse for a while?

    • ArVAFan - Nov 23, 2013 at 8:58 PM

      It is not wrong to hope that. Baseball is a lot of things, entertainment being one of them. That is an entertaining thought indeed. And could we throw Mr. Old-School Hamels into the mix while we’re at it?

      PS to 222, thank you for the analytical work. Further support for the idea that W-L is not a definitive way to evaluate a pitcher. Somehow, I would expect that Gio didn’t have that problem last year (but perhaps JZimm did).

    • nats128 - Nov 23, 2013 at 9:04 PM

      I love that possibility in the clubhouse. Mcann is such the D-bag. Good player tho.

  15. trochlis318 - Nov 24, 2013 at 3:35 AM

    Don’t look now but i think peralta is about to sign with the cards, 4 years 60-70 million

  16. Ghost of Steve M. - Nov 24, 2013 at 8:25 AM

    For those saying good riddance to McCann, keep in mind the Nats may have to face him in the 2014 World Series. ;)

    • trochlis318 - Nov 24, 2013 at 8:29 AM

      highly doubt the yankees are in the World series, they would need to add a lot to their team in a lot of areas to become contender

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Nov 24, 2013 at 8:51 AM

        Hence the word “may” and the ;). I think Texas and NYY just patched 2 big holes. NYY needs another frontline starter.

      • nats128 - Nov 24, 2013 at 9:21 AM

        I think the Yanks need more than just another starter. I think they lose Kuroda and Sabathia isnt what he was and no more Pettite. There isnt a whole lot out there in Free Agency.

  17. Theophilus T.S. - Nov 24, 2013 at 9:22 AM

    Cardinals’ signing of the free-swinging, beer-gutted, drug-abusing Peralta is the beginning of their downfall and will be a black mark on the franchise.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Nov 24, 2013 at 12:16 PM

      Really. He doesn’t seem to fit their team dynamics. That would be interesting.

      I’m still ticked that they stole Bourjos.

      • natsjackinfl - Nov 24, 2013 at 3:35 PM

        Agree about the Cards “stealing” Bourjous. Dipoto gives up 2 solid young players for 2 guys the Cards were happy to dump. Unbelievable.

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