2012 Ex-Nats Roundup (Episode II: The American League)

A pleasant evening to you, Federal Baseball readers!

A few days ago, I provided a look at what ex-Nats players did in the National League in 2012. Today, I continue the ex-Nats roundup by taking a look at the American League. Per last time, a few preliminary caveats:

(a) The idea for this is courtesy of Twinkie Town.

(b) The stats are pulled straight off of

(c) I’ve only concerned myself with ex-Nats (no ex-Expos) who appeared in a major league game for the Nats at some point (no minor leaguers who have made the majors after leaving the Nats system).

(d) The parenthetical dates after each name are the seasons spent as a major league National.

Additionally, for this group of ex-Nats, I have also consulted roster moves from the 2012 season in order to see if injuries played a role in a given player’s season. For several, the answer is yes. And, as a final reminder, this list doesn’t include ex-Nats who are in AL farm systems--I’ll be returning with a post or two about minor league ex-Nats in a few days.

And now, the moment you have perhaps been waiting for: ex-Nats who played in the AL this past season!

Nick Johnson, Orioles (2005-2009):

39 G, 102 PA, .207/.324/.391

The first of a trio of ex-Nats who played up the interstate this season, Johnson was not a major factor in the O’s unexpected success, as he played poorly early in the season and was on the DL from late June onward. So far, it’s safe to say that he had his best years in a Nationals uniform.

Endy Chavez, Orioles (2005):

64 G, 169 PA, .203/.236/.278

Chavez’s year illustrates the Orioles’ 2012 roster-move madness: he was injured for a good part of May, was back on the DL by mid-June, was activated in mid-July, was designated for assignment in August, was called back up in September, and even got an at bat in the ALDS (he struck out).

Luis Ayala, Orioles (2005-2008):

66 G, 75 IP, 2.64 ERA

After bouncing around in the minors in 2010, Ayala really seems to have found himself--he was excellent for the Yankees last year and this season he was a key arm in the wicked Baltimore bullpen (believe it or not, his ERA was actually the highest of Orioles relievers with more than 50 appearances).

Marlon Byrd, Cubs/Red Sox (2005-2006):

47 G, 153 PA, .210/.243/.245

Byrd’s best seasons were yet to come when he was a Nat, and they are probably well behind him now; after acquiring him from the Cubs, the Red Sox dumped him in June. Kinda hard to believe he’s only two seasons removed from making the All-Star team.

Shawn Hill, Blue Jays (2006-2008):

1 G, 3.0 IP, 0.00 ERA

Shawn Hill pitched this year. In a game. Which is one more major league game than Shawn Hill pitched in last year.

Joel Peralta, Rays (2010):

76 G, 67.0 IP, 3.63 ERA

After two seasons with a sub-3.00 ERA, Peralta was not as sharp this year, although his numbers are still better than any he posted pre-2010. His K/9 rate (11.3) was also as high as it’s ever been. In case you’ve forgotten, he was suspended in June after pitching against the Nats with a glove full of pine tar. Mmm, pine tar!

Jason Marquis, Twins/Padres (2010-2011):

Twins: 7 G, 34.0 IP, 8.47 ERA

Padres: 15 G, 93.2 IP, 4.04 ERA

I’ve separated his Twins and Padres numbers because it was obviously a tale of two seasons for Marquis. In both cases, though, it was a tough year for him. His debut with the Twins was delayed when his daughter was seriously injured in a bike accident, and he was dreadful in seven appearances. After his release, he went to San Diego and pitched pretty well, but his campaign ended in late August when a line drive broke his wrist. Actually, it didn’t quite end: he threw three innings with said broken wrist. Marquis is nothing if not extremely tough.

Josh Willingham, Twins (2009-2010):

145 G, 615 PA, .260/.366/.524, 35 HR, 110 RBI

Last time, I speculated that Joel Hanrahan was probably the most successful ex-Nat in 2012. If so, Willingham is likely second on the list, and he definitely wins the trophy for best ex-Nat in terms of batting. He had career highs in home runs and RBI and, unlike Soriano (whose offensive stats are admittedly comparable), he has a very team-friendly contract and has become a huge fan favorite down Minnesota way.

Matt Capps, Twins (2010):

30 G, 29.1 IP, 3.68 ERA, 14 SV

(the author, as a Twins fan, mutters something under his breath about the Ramos trade)

(the author, as a Nats fan, snickers about the Ramos trade)

Whichever side you take, Capps hasn’t panned out as a closer for the Twins. One can say this for Capps's 2012: he wasn't hideous when he wasn't on the DL (which he was on for much of the season).

Jamey Carroll, Twins (2005):

139 G, 537 PA, .268/.343/.317

Once upon a time, the Nats sold him to the Rockies for $300,000, and he promptly turned into a defensive genius. Today, he’s old, but he’ll be back next year because (a) this was the first year of a two-year contract; (b) he was serviceable in the field and at the plate; and (c) the Twins don't have many (or really any) other middle infield options.

Collin Balester, Tigers (2008-2011):

11 G, 18.0 IP, 6.50 ERA

After 22 starts in 2008-2009, the Nats gave up on Balester as a starting pitcher. Since then, he’s seen limited action out of the bullpen each season. No exception this year; the Tigers had seen enough of him by May, when he was sent down to the minors.

Adam Dunn, White Sox (2009-2010):

151 G, 649 PA, .204/.333/.468, 41 HR, 96 RBI, 105 BB, 222 K

After an historically putrid 2011, Dunn has returned to his natural habitat, i.e., hitting somewhere around 40 home runs and topping the leader board in strikeouts and walks (now a DH, he no longer competes for most errors by a first baseman). His batting average improved markedly over 2011, which underscores just how dreadful he was last year. Still, the guy has power and because of that, he was one of two ex-Nat All Stars this year (Hanrahan being the other).

Brian Bruney, White Sox (2010):

1 G, 1 IP, 0.00 ERA

Bruney has had an uneven career, ranging from excellent (2006 and 2008 with the Yankees) to inexcusable (2005 with the D-Backs and 2010 with the Nats). This year, he pitched exactly one inning, striking out two and walking two; he was also hampered by injuries from June on.

Ryan Langerhans, Angels (2007-2008):

2 G, 2 PA, .000/.000/.000

As a Nat, Langerhans’s biggest accomplishment was being traded for Michael Morse. One assumes Langerhans is likely to begin 2013 in the minors, which is where he’s spent the bulk of the last two seasons.

Jerome Williams, Angels (2007):

32 G, 137.2 IP, 4.58 ERA

Williams had some injury issues in April and a respiratory problem that landed him on the DL in June, but when healthy, he split time between starting and relieving. His role next year will probably depend on what pitching moves the Halos make during the offseason.

Alberto Gonzalez, Rangers (2008-2010):

24 G, 55 PA, .241/.241/.315

In 17 games in 2008, Gonzalez batted .347 for the Nats. That was not a portent of things to come.

Jonny Gomes, Athletics (2011):

99 G, 333 PA, .262/.377/.491, 18 HR

The Gomes who showed up in Oakland this year is probably closer to the Gomes the Nats hoped they were getting from the Reds last year.

Tommy Milone, Athletics (2011):

31 G, 190 IP, 3.74 ERA, 13-10

Milone emerged as a top-of-the-rotation starter for the Athletics. At least for this year, it looks like everybody won in the Gio trade, and that seems like an excellent note to end on.

That does it for the ex-Nats who played in the AL this year. I’ll provide a rundown of ex-Nats in the minors (and abroad!) in time, but before closing out the major league portion of the program, I'd be nothing short of an abject failure if I didn't bring up this guy:

Manny Acta, Indians (2007-2009):


In his third year managing the Indians, Acta skippered a club that was unexpectedly competitive through mid-July: after a victory on July 13, they were 45-41 and only three games back. The Tribe proceeded to thoroughly implode, managing a 20-50 record and falling into last place before Acta was shown the door with six games remaining in the season. After Acta’s departure, the team went 3-3 and managed to finish two games ahead of the (sigh) Twins.

All right, that’s that--tune in next time for ex-Nats in the minors! There will be many, many blasts from the past!

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