The Washington Nationals signed Julian Tavarez to a minor league contract yesterday. He should report to the team some time next week after he secures his visa.
The 35-year old swingman pitched for three teams last year for a a 5.10 ERA in 52 appearances. Tavarez actually pitched better last year than his numbers would indicate. HIs first half/last half splits were dramatic enough to imply injury in the first half, and his PECOTA and Forecaster numbers for 2009 are actually serviceable. Whereas Kip Wells is a pipe dream, Tavarez could actually help.
What's more, he's a veteran that has filled the swingman routine for many, many years, which would allow for the young starters (Mock, Martis, Zimmermann), should they not make the rotation, to start in Syracuse every five days instead of ruining any chance of progress in DC.
Rizzo's quote was a gem too.
"There's nothing wrong with competition in spring training, and we don't want a lot of comfortable players in the clubhouse," acting general manager Mike Rizzo said. "It's this time in spring training to step up and make the club. Competition, that never hurts."