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Nationals sign three to minor league deals with spring invites

Dec 13, 2013, 3:59 PM EDT

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

The Nationals signed three players on Friday to minor league deals with invitations to major league spring training: first baseman Brock Peterson, pitcher Manny Delcarmen and catcher Brian Jeroloman. All three will report to Viera, Fl. hoping to compete for a roster spot and add depth to the Nationals’ exhibition squad.

Peterson, 30, spent last season with the St. Louis Cardinals and appeared in 23 games as a bench player. He hit just .177 across 26 at-bats with two RBI, two walks and 11 strikeouts. He made his major league debut on July 20 after 11 seasons in the minor leagues.

Peterson played 122 games with Triple-A Memphis last year and held a .297 average with 25 home runs and 86 RBI. He was selected as a Triple-A All-Star and also finished second in the Triple-A Home Run Derby. The Cardinals released him on Nov. 5.

Delcarmen is a right-hander with six years of MLB experience. He’s played with both the Red Sox and Rockies, but hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2010. Through 298 career MLB games he has a 3.97 career ERA with 249 strikeouts in 292 2/3 innings.

Since his last major league game with the Rockies, Delcarmen has spent time in the Mariners, Rangers, Yankeees and Orioles organizations. The 31-year-old has a World Series ring as a member of the 2007 Red Sox.

Jeroloman, 28, has yet to appear in the major leagues, but has eight years and 621 games in the minors under his belt. He was in the Nationals’ system last season with 30 games at Syracuse and 21 at Harrisburg. The Nats acquired him in July in a trade with the Pirates.

Jeroloman was involved in a national story in September after a collision at home sent him to the hospital.

  1. Sonny G 10 - Dec 13, 2013 at 5:01 PM

    Not much interesting here. Must be just to fill out minor league roster spots.

  2. Eugene in Oregon - Dec 13, 2013 at 7:27 PM

    Omar Infante’s deal with Kansas City today really seems to leave the Yankees with four huge question marks in their infield:

    1B – Mark Teixeira, coming back from a season in which he played only 15 games;
    2B – TBD, with no obvious options (Brandon Phillips is alleged too expensive for them);
    SS – Derek Jeter, coming back from a season in which he played only 17 games; and
    3B – Alex Rodrigues, almost certain to be suspended for a significant chunk of time, but if somehow survives, coming back from a season in which we played only 44 games.

    Just speculating wildly here, but you wonder if Scott Boras — in New York earlier today for the Jacoby Elsbury presser — might have been whispering Danny Espinosa’s name into Brain Cashman’s ears. Said differently, the comments Mr. Boras made to the Washington Post may have been aimed not at Mike Rizzo, but at GMs like Mr. Cashman. I admit it’s far-fetched (and I certainly don’t know what the Yankees might have to offer), but part of an agent’s writ is to find a starting job for his client. And Mr. Boras knows how to spin her clients’ pluses and minuses. Anyway, like I said, just speculating.

    • veejh - Dec 13, 2013 at 8:20 PM

      Wouldn’t it be nice to unload Danny for something other than a few new bats.

    • tcostant - Dec 14, 2013 at 7:30 AM

      Im fine with Danny in a utility roll.

  3. Eugene in Oregon - Dec 13, 2013 at 7:29 PM

    ‘His’ client , not ‘her’ (at least in this case) and few other mistakes in there; sorry, I need a copy editor.

  4. NatsLady - Dec 14, 2013 at 8:26 AM

    Regarding Nieto:

    My impression (from watching the AFL) that he is poor defensively was confirmed by Baseball Prospectus. Here is their summary.

    Scouting Report: A former over-slot pick in 2008 (fifth round) who has never been able to stay on the field long enough to make a case for himself. Played over 100 games in 2013 for the first time in his career. Good approach at the plate and above-average plate discipline. Above-average power for a catcher. However, he doesn’t have the defense to match. According to Mark Anderson, “Everything I had on his glove this year indicated he was a below-average receiver, decent footwork, above-average arm, and overall below-average to fringy defender without much projection.”

    Stickability: Moderate. The aforementioned backup catcher, Nieto too is making the jump straight from A-ball. The offensive bar isn’t set very high for catchers, and it’s even lower for second-stringers, but he’ll have to hold his own behind the plate.

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=22412

    P.S., the comment about the Fillies is a real zinger.

    The Phillies have struggled badly with internal evaluation and lack power arms in their bullpen.

  5. sjm308 - Dec 14, 2013 at 8:33 AM

    Mr. Oregon: I think you are correct that Boras has one objective for all his clients and that is to find the absolute best situation and along with that the most money for each of his players and you have to admit, he is probably the best at what he does. I just can’t imagine his wealth. Does anyone know what his typical % is on each contract? I do understand that he puts that money back into things like training facilities and personal trainers etc.

    That being said, I kinda hope Espinosa can turn it around. I am not expecting miracles. I expect him to still strike out way too much but if he can just hit .240, his glove and his power make him a very nice piece to our bench. The other key to all that is if he can accept a bench position. If he is off pouting about not starting of course I don’t want that. I guess the other part of him turning it around is if a team like the Yankees sees his success it allows us to make a trade later in spring training which just might bring something back. Problem with the Yankees is, I think their farm system is pretty much deleted which is why they have to go out and buy their team each year. Not sure I would like to see Rizzo follow the Yankee model but how great is it to know you can go and spend 200 million each year because of a TV contract. Oh, wait, Angelos has a great TV contract but not so much our lads. Hmmmm.

    Go Nats

    • Eugene in Oregon - Dec 14, 2013 at 9:46 AM

      Agree with you (and tcostant above) that I’d be fine with Danny Espinosa in a utility role of the Nats provided he can improve his hitting from last season. I’m certainly not advocating that the Nats ‘sell low’ in trading him. But I continue to wonder whether we might see a trade this off-season if the offer(s) exceed whatever value-based tipping point Mike Rizzo has established in his own mind for Mr. Espinosa. And I can easily imagine Scott Boras, as I wrote, trying to persuade other teams that last season was an aberration and that if they ‘just offer a little bit more’ the Nats will bite and they’ll have themselves a starter on the cheap. Or something like that. My one concern in all this is that an Espinosa-Rendon ‘battle’ for the 2B job could become a distraction during Spring Training. But maybe that’s a good thing? Meaning the battle — if Mr. Espinosa is truly hitting well — not the distraction. Anyway, just speculation on my part.

  6. Theophilus T.S. - Dec 14, 2013 at 8:54 AM

    Nieto is summed up by the phrase “can’t stay on the field.” He was coming off knee surgery when drafted — and had a snitty negotiation when the Nats priced him as an injured player not a top prospect. Who knows how long it actually required for him to recover from that injury but it probably contributed to his knuckleheaded decision to use PEDs — which cost him most of another season. (I suppose it’s possible he never would have gotten back on the field without them.) So it’s really not a measure of his long-term potential to criticize his defense based on, effectively, two minor league seasons — two years removed from being a high school catcher.

    I don’t really care how old he is when he finally reaches the major leagues. It affects the length of his career but not necessarily how much he can contribute when he gets there. Two more years in the minors might make him at least an average defender (to go with the strong arm). The fact is they have no depth at the catching position in their minor league system — witness signing Jeroloman just so they have enough bodies for Spring Training road trips. Whatever he’s doing in Venezuela these days, in 500 games in the minors Leon is hitting .237/.325/.325. He and Solano might just as well be swinging w/ cooked linguine.

    As I’ve said before there’s deadwood aplenty on the 40-man roster, even after Brown got thrown off the island. Perez, notably, comes to mind — when they traded Burns Rizzo didn’t even mention Perez among his CF “depth.” I pretty much expect (75%) Nieto to come back and to give a passable account of himself somewhere in the minor league system.

  7. Faraz Shaikh - Dec 14, 2013 at 9:49 AM

    alright, it is the weekend. let’s make some ambitious signings/trades for our bench.

  8. Eugene in Oregon - Dec 14, 2013 at 9:51 AM

    On the Phillies having a confused approach to team-building:

    http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/phillies/20131215_Amaro_has_Phils_stuck_between_rebuilding_and_contending.html

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