March 24, 2011
Yesterday the Nationals made a few roster moves, first placing Stephen Strasburg on the 60-Day disabled list, then claiming LHP Lee Hyde from the Atlanta Braves and signing LHP Oliver Perez to a minor league contract. Strasburg is strictly a procedural move, as he will not return to the club until September at the earliest, and likely will not pitch in the majors this year. By placing him on the 60-Day DL, it clears a valuable space on the Nationals 40-man roster.
Then later in the afternoon, the Nationals used the newly created space on the 40-man roster to claim 26 year old LHP Lee Hyde off waivers from the Atlanta Braves and immediately optioned him to Triple-A Syracuse. Hyde produced a 3.41 ERA over 60 2/3 innings last season between Double-A and Triple-A and continued to impress in the Arizona Fall League. Baseball America, however, failed to rank him among the top 30 prospects for the Braves either of the past two off-seasons. With a K/9 rate of 7.7 last season, perhaps GM Mike Rizzo has found a solid middle reliever caught or LOOGY (Left-Handed One Out Guy) caught in a numbers game in Atlanta, which has a strong farm system and a fairly established bullpen. But I have never seen him pitch, so a grade from me is fairly irresponsible in this instance: that being said, it cost the team nothing and young left-handed pitching is a valuable commodity.
Grade: No risk, potential return
Finally, the Nationals signed LHP Oliver Perez to a minor league contract after being released earlier this week by the New York Mets with $12 million remaining on his $36 million, three-year contract. The Nationals are only responsible for a prorated portion of the contract, a maximum of $400,000. Perez has a relationship with Nationals minor league pitching coordinator Spin Williams, dating back to 2004 with the Pittsburgh Pirates when Williams was the pitching coach and Perez led major league baseball in K/9 ratio. Perez has great talent and creates plenty of swings and misses but he struggles with his below average command, which creates far too many walks and runs scored. I believe Perez is too far gone to rediscover the mechanics that led to him being a strong middle of the rotation starter, but like the Lee Hyde move, there is little to no risk (essentially Spin Williams’s time) and some potential that he revives his career in Washington.
Overall Grade: B… Why Not?
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