The Washington Nationals have signed infielder Matt Antonelli to a minor league deal and have invited him to their major league spring camp for the 2011 season.
Antonelli, 25, was the Padres 1st round pick in the June 2006 draft after earning All-American honors while at Wake Forest University.
In his second year in 2007 he split time between Lake Elsinore-A and San Antonio-AA. Combined he batted .307 with 21 HR, 78 RBI, 123 runs scored and 28 stolen bases. He was named to Baseball America’s Class A All Star team that season.
In 2008 in only his third season he played at AAA-Portland and struggled batting only .215 with 7 HR and 39 RBI in 128 games. He was called up to San Diego in September of that season and appeared in 21 games batting only .193 but hit his first major league home run – a three run blast in Dodger Stadium.
He returned to Portland in 2009 and played in only 59 games batting .196.
Last season he had a great spring camp with the Padres and made the team out of spring training batting over .300. Unfortunately, in his first game was hit by a pitch and broke his wrist and was lost for the season.
The Washington Nationals signed righthanded pitcher Chad Gaudin yesterday to a minor league contract and invited the former Chiefs pitcher to spring training as a non-roster player.
Gaudin, still only 27 pitched for the Chiefs in 2005 and came within one out of tossing a no-hitter vs Columbus at Alliance Bank Stadium that season.
He spent the 2006 and 07 season with Oakland – pitching in relief 4-2 3.09 ERA in 55 appearances in ’06 and was 11-13 with a 4.42 ERA in 34 starts in ’07.
Chad began the 08′ season with the A’s but was traded to the White Sox in July and finished the season 9-5 with a 4.40 ERA in 50 games.
In 09′ he moved back to the starting rotation with San Diego before being traded to the Yankees again in July and posted a 6-10 record with a 4.65 ERA in 31 starts.
Last season he moved back to the bullpen and for the third straight season split time with Oakland to start the season and finishing with the Yankees. In 42 games he was 1-4 with a 5.65 ERA.
Wang, now 30, missed all of the 2010 season. He pitched in games in September/October at the Nationals Instructional League and was impressive.
The Washington Nationals made a trade yesterday sending outfiedler Josh Willingham to the Oakland Athletics for right-handed pitcher Henry Rodriguez and outfielder Corey Brown.
Rodriguez, 23 is a hard throwing relief pitcher with an average fastball velocity of 98.45 miles per hour. He began the 2010 season with Sacremento-AAA and recorded 11-saves and a 1.69 ERA before be called up to Oakland in June. With the A’s he was 1-0 with a 4.55 ERA in 29 appearances. He is expected to compete for the Nationals closer position in spring training.
Brown, 25, was the A’s number one pick in the 2007 June draft out of Oklahoma State. Last season he dominated AA-Midland batting .320 with 10 HR and 49 RBI in 90 games. He was called up to AAA-Sacremento in July and appeared in 41 games and batted only .193 with 5 HR and 20 RBI. An extra base machine Brown has over 170 in 390 minor league games.
It’s likely both players will compete for major league jobs – Rodriguez in the Nats bullpen and Brown as an extra outfielder.
Ex-Chiefs outfielder Jayson Werth was signed to a record seven year 126-million dollar contract by the Nationals at the start of the Baseball Winter Meetings last week. Werth replaces the loss of Adam Dunn who signed on with the White Sox earlier.
In the Major League Rule 5 draft, the Nationals selected righthanded pitcher Elvin Ramirez from the Mets organization off their AA-Binghampton roster and another righty Brian Broderick from the Cardinals organization off the AA-Springfield roster.
Ramirez, 23, is from the Domincan Republic and spent most of the 2010 season at A-St Lucie and was 4-3 with a 4.17 ERA in 49 relief appearances. He posted 65 strikeouts in 73 innings, but also walked 43 batters. He finished the season with Binghamton-AA and appeared in 3 games.
Broderick, 24, is 6’6″ and started the 2010 season at Jupiter-A and went 3-5 with a 5.47 ERA in 9-starts. He moved up to AA-Springfield and finished 11-2 with a 2.72 ERA.
The Nationals also selected 23 year old Mike Allen, a righthanded pitcher off the Twins AA-New Brittan roster. Allen was only 1-3 with a 6.75 ERA in 37 relief appearances between AA-New Brittan and A-Ft. Myers last season, but had 49 K’s in 51 innings combined.
On the Free Agent front outfielder Jonathan Tucker was signed after spending six years in the Baltimore Orioles organization. Last season at Bowie-AA in the Eastern League, he batted .221 with 2 HR, 27 RBI and 22 stolen bases in 83 games. He also played 21 games at Norfolk.
The Washington Nationals have signed outfielder Jeff Frazier and infielder Chris McConnell to minor league deals and assigned them to the Syracuse-AAA roster.
Frazier, 28, has spent the past two years playing for the Toledo Mud Hens (Tigers) in the International League. Last season he was named to the I.L. All Star team when he batted .256 with 25 home runs and 73 RBI. He also scored 72 runs and clubbed 34 doubles. His 61 extra base hits led the I.L. in 2010.
The New Jersey resident attended Rutgers and was the Detroit Tigers 4th round selection in the 2004 June draft.
McConnell, 25, played last season with Northwest Arkansas (Royals) in the Texas League. He batted .231 with 3 home runs and 39 RBI. Used primarily as a short stop throughout his career he fielded .973 in 122 games last season with Arkansas – tops in the league.
The Pennsylvania native was also selected in the 2004 June draft by the Kansas City Royals out of high school.
Frazier and McConnell join right handed pitcher Tim Wood as off-season free agent pick-ups by the Washington Nationals.
2010 Mid-season I.L. All Star Chase Lambin has reportedly signed a minor league contract with the Minnesota Twins with an invite to their major league spring training camp for the 2011 season.
Lambin, 31 was signed by the Nationals last winter after playing in Japan during the 2009 campaign. With the Chiefs last season he batted .252 with a team high 15 home runs and 58 RBI in 136 games.
After being named as the MVP of the AAA All Star game in Lehigh Valley he batted only .182 with 4 home runs and 13 RBI in 48 games the rest of the season. With the Chiefs he played third base, second base, first base and rightfield.
If Lambin does not make the Twins major league roster he could spend the 2011 season at Rochester their AAA-affiliate.
Fox Sports John Morosi is reporting on twitter that the Washington Nationals have signed righthanded pitcher Tim Wood as a free agent and have assigned him to the Syracuse roster.
Wood , 28, has pitched parts of the past two seasons with the Florida Marlins and has appeared in over 40 games as a reliever. The Arizona native will be invited to the Nats major league camp as a non-roster player.
He appeared in only 14 games for New Orleans (PCL) last season with a 6.43 ERA, but has spent the past three years at the AAA level in the Marlins organization with a ERA under 4.00 each season.
MLB Trade Rumors is reporting that former Chiefs utility man Pete Orr has signed a minor league contract with the Philadelphia Phillies and will be invited to spring training in February with a chance to make the major league roster.
Orr spent the past two seasons with the Chiefs and appeared in 257 games playing numerous positions on the field. Last season he set career marks with 32 doubles, led the International League with 8 triples and had a career high 12 home runs.
With Brian Bixler and Michael Martinez expected to return to Syracuse in 2011, Orr will get another chance to prove he belongs in the major leagues – this time with the Phillies.
Good Luck Pete, we loved having you in Syracuse the past two years.
Each season players not placed on the 40-man roster that have accumulated at least six years of service time (minors and majors inclusive) are free to sign with any of the 30 major league teams.
Last season the Nationals signed for AAA-Syracuse catchers Carlos Maldonado and Jamie Burke, infielders Eric Bruntlett, Chase Lambin, Pedro Lopez, and Josh Whitesell and outfielders Chris Duncan and Kevin Mench. Pitchers Chuck James and Joel Peralta. They also re-signed utility man Pete Orr and pitcher Andrew Kown.
The 2011 group of free agents includes Lambin, Lopez, Duncan, James, Orr and Kown along with 21 additional players from the single A to AAA level.
RHP: Jimmy Barthmair -Potomac, Zach Dials – Potomac, Luis Garcia – Hagerstown, Jason Jones – Harrisburg, Andre Kown – Syracuse, Dan Leatherman – Harrisburg, Carlos Martinez – Potomac, LHP; Jesse English – Syracuse, Victor Garate – Syracuse, Glenn Gibson – Vermont, Chuck James – Harrsiburg, Yunior Novoa – Harrsisburg.
Catchers; Nolan Brannon – Vermont, Devin Ivany – Harrsiburg.
Infielders; Chase Lambin – Syracuse, Ofilio Castro – Harrisburg, Peter Orr – Syracuse, Wilberto Ortiz – Potomac, Pedro Lopez – Syracuse.
Outfieders; Jason Botts – Syracuse, Leonard Davis – Syracuse, Chris Duncan – Syracuse, Marvin Lowrance – Harrisburg, Edgardo Baez – Harrsiburg, Brad coon – Harrsiburg, Jerry Owens – Syracuse, Jamar Walton – Potomac.
We will follow the Nationals free agent signings during the winter and provide player interviews of possible 2011 Chiefs players.
As the end of July looms near and the Chiefs are in the
midst of the International League playoff hunt, it seems like a good time to
take a look at some of the players who may join the Chiefs as the playoffs come
September 1st–far away today but really will be
here tomorrow (the older you get, the clearer that becomes), is the day that
Major League rosters expand to 40 players. While this doesn’t mean much today
for the Syracuse roster, it could be significant down the road. Current Chiefs
players on the 40-man roster include: Justin Maxwell (four trips to the bigs
this season), Carlos Maldonado (played in 4 games with the Nats between May and
June), Collin Balester (with Washington as of today), Jesse English, Atahualpa
Severino, and Shairon Martis.
If those players go up come September, that means players
from within the Washington farm system could find themselves moving up to
Syracuse. Josh Wilkie, now a staple of the Chiefs bullpen, didn’t arrive at
Alliance Bank Stadium until July 25th of last season.
To find out about some of the players who might rise, I
spoke with Terry Byrom, the radio broadcaster of the Harrisburg Senators, the
Nationals Double-A affiliate. He’s in his sixth season with the Senators and
has an extensive knowledge of the Nationals of the future.
The first player to talk about was shortstop Danny Espinosa.
He was a third round pick out of Long Beach State University, which has quite a
history of producing major league ready infielders including Evan Longoria and
Last year with Advanced-A Potomac (suddenly that’s the hot
place to be if you want to end up in Syracuse–see Leatherman, D. Whiting, B.)
he hit .264 with 18 HR, 72 RBI, and 29 SB.
“There’s no one area of his game we look at and say,
‘Boy, we need to make huge strides quickly here,’ because he’s polished in all
areas. And you just don’t see middle infielders with his type of arm
strength,” said then Potomac manager Trent Jewett to the Washington Post
This season he’s batting .258 with 14 HR, 41 RBI and 18 SB
“I think right now he’s a very good defensive infielder and
I would say his glove is better than his bat. Having said that, his bat is
awfully good. I think he’s starting to figure out the pitching and for guys
that come up from “A” ball it’s just a series of adjustments that need to be
made,” said Byrom.
Espinosa earned himself a spot on the roster for the Futures
Game earlier this month. As Espinosa does advance through the system though,
his position could change, Byrom says.
The Nationals already have 2009 Chief Ian Desmond as their
starting shortstop, but that doesn’t worry Espinosa who played some second base
during spring training.
“Whether I play second or short, I’d just rather be up
there. I don’t really care. I’d like to play short, but if the team thinks I’m
going to play second base better and I can help with second base more than
short, that’s the decision and I’ll roll with that and I’m fine. I’m totally
happy with that. I just want to make it up there,” Espinosa told Adam Kilgore
of the Washington Post last month.
The Chiefs have used four different shortstops this year
with Pedro Lopez (41 games) playing the most of anyone in that spot.
Another player who may be a Chief not before long is first
baseman Chris Marrero. A first round pick out of high school in Miami in 2006,
he could be a big part of the Washington future. Marrero’s advancement may
depend on whether or not Adam Dunn is still a National after the July 31st
Marrero spent parts of 2007, 2008 and 2009 with Advanced-A
Potomac before making the jump to Double-A last season and playing in 23 games
with the Senators for whom he hit .267.
Now with almost a full season of Double-A baseball under his
belt, Marrero is hitting .297 with 13 HR and 58 RBI along with 19 doubles.
Plus, he’s hot now–in June he hit .359, and in July he’s hitting .333.
Byrom says it was about Marrero adjusting to a higher level
after nearly three seasons in Woodbridge, VA.
“I think the Nationals felt that he needed to show some
consistency at the plate and ever since May 1st he’s been
incredible. He’s second in the Eastern League in hits, he’s much better at
first base and he just looks more comfortable there than he did last year. He
has worked really hard on his defense. He has gone from a power hitter who is
serviceable at first base, to one who can end up being a pretty good defensive
first baseman. Most of his errors have actually come on throws, but he’s gotten
a lot better at picking balls out of the dirt. I’d say the biggest thing he’s
improved on is receiving poor throws from the infield. He’s young and will only get better.”
Ever since Josh Whitesell (40 starts at first and at the
time a team leading 34 RBI) left for Japan, the Chiefs have rotated between
Chris Duncan (on the DL), Jason Botts, Chase Lambin, and even Bill Rhinehart at
first base. A combination of two power bats in Botts and Marrero could be
lethal for a late season run at the playoffs.
The last player we looked at was pitcher Tom Milone, who
leads Harrisburg in wins this season with a 7-5 record and a 3.08 ERA. A Rule 5 draft pick out of USC in 2008, he pitched
opposite former Nationals draftee Aaron Crow in the summer of 2007 in the Cape
Cod Baseball League and was named the Pitcher of the Year. (Crow is now with
the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, the Double-A affiliate of the Royals.)
Milone draws some comparisons to John Lannan but has made his mark in the minors due to his control of his pitches. Through
the 2009 season, he had struck out 155 batters and walked just 45. In addition,
he’s moved quickly through the system spending just six games with Vermont in
2008 and the rest of that season in Hagerstown. Last year he was 12-5 with a
2.91 ERA at Potomac.
“Tom is a lefthander that will throw into the low 90′s and
so he’s not a guy that just kicks around and uses off-speed stuff. He’s also
not afraid to go inside on right-handed hitters. For a lefty that’s pretty
important. This year he has pitched himself onto (the Nationals) radar. He was
on their radar before, but now he is being thought of as a guy that could crack
the rotation in the Majors,” Byrom said.
Syracuse has put together a reliable rotation with Shairon
Martis, Matt Chico, Jeff Mandel, Erik Arnesen and Jason Jones, but two of those
players (Martis and Chico) both have Major League experience. Nobody, including
Collin Balester, knows when the call is going to come.
But when the phone rings at Triple-A, it starts a game of
telephone with stops in Harrisburg, Woodbridge, Hagerstown and Burlington,