• Nats Sign Chad Durbin: ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick (@JCrasnick) was first with the news that a source said the Washington Nationals had signed 32-year-old 6'4'' right-handed reliever Chad Durbin to a minor league deal that will (when it's officially announced) likely include an invitation to Spring Training. MLB.com's Bill Ladson (@washingnats) has since confirmed the deal, writing on Twitter, "I have confirmed that the #Nats have signed Chad Durbin to a Minor League deal." The 12-year MLB veteran pitched for the Cleveland Indians last season, for whom he was (2-2) with a 5.53 ERA, 4.85 FIP, 26 walks (3.42 BB/9) and 59 K's (7.77 K/9) in 56 games and 68.1 IP. The 1996 Kansas City Royals' 3rd Round pick out of Woodlawn High School in Baton Rouge, LA, has pitched for the Royals, Indians, D-Backs, Tigers and Phillies during his career, amassing a (38-46) record in 364 games, 75 starts, and 759.1 IP over which he has a career 5.10 ERA, 5.11 FIP, 6.07 K/9 and 3.89 BB/9.
• D.C. GM on BA Organizational Rankings...
As we noted earlier this week in this story on 2011 3rd Round pick Matt Purke, the prospects in the Washington Nationals' organization were ranked baseball's best in Baseball America's annual Prospect Handbook, though BA's Jim Callis did note on Twitter that the book went to press before Washington had traded three players (RHP Brad Peackock - no. 3; RHP A.J. Cole -no. 4; C Derek Norris -no. 9 and LHP Tommy Milone) who were on BA's Top 10 Prospects list when it was released this past December. "No. 1 in Handbook, will slip a little in final rankings," Mr. Callis wrote (@JimCallisBA) when asked how the trade would affect the Nats' status, but as the Nats' GM explained in a recent interview they made the trade with the A's because they thought the next wave of pitchers they have coming up in the organization, "... will at least equal and possibly surpass the package of guys that we've given up in this trade."
In a press release on the Baseball America organizational rankings released today, Rizzo thanks the Nats' owners for their commitment to rebuilding the barren franchise inherited from MLB and Montreal. "'The Lerner family told me they intended to build the Nationals from the ground up and we took it seriously. The scouting and player development departments worked tirelessly and effectively to sign the best prospects to make a major league roster and to give us the ability to either play the best or trade for the best." Baseball America's Mr. Callis is quoted as well, explaining that the team's gradual climb up the rankings is a result of their approach, saying they've, "... been as aggressive as any team in the draft, which is the best way to build a team and a farm system."
• The press release also includes the revised Nats' prospect rankings after the Gio Gonzalez trade:
- Bryce Harper, OF
- Anthony Rendon, 3B
- Brian Goodwin, OF
- Alex Meyer, RHP
- Matt Purke, LHP
- Sammy Solis, LHP
- Steve Lombardozzi, INF
- Destin Hood, OF
- Chris Marrero, 1B
- Michael Taylor, OF