Good afternoon, everyone! How’s everyone doing? Don’t recognize me? Well, that’s fair, because I tend to read rather than post. But I do lurk around here, and I’m doing something I did last year: rounding up information on what ex-Nationals players did during the 2013 season, so lately concluded. And what a wealth of information there is! Indeed, there is far too much to try to pack into one post, so what I’m going to do is break things up into three, maybe four, posts.
Let’s talk about sources. Up front, this whole ex-Nats roundup is an idea I have blatantly borrowed from Twinkie Town. They do good work over there. As for the information on ex-Nats, I have gathered most of it from the usual places you’d expect: baseball-reference.com, fangraphs.com, mlbtraderumors.com, mlb.com, Wikipedia, and espn.com pretty well sum it up.
Let’s talk about general parameters. I am limiting the scope of this survey to ex-Nats, by which I mean players who actually played in a major league game in a Nationals uniform. Thus, I’m not covering former Expos who never appeared as Nats, nor am I including players who were in the Nationals minor league system but never made the big club.
And let’s talk about specific parameters. For this post, I’m going to focus on ex-Nats who spent 2013 playing for National League teams. By this, I mean ex-Nats who actually appeared in National League games; ex-Nats who only played in the minor leagues will be dealt with in subsequent posts. For players who split time between the AL and NL, I have included them in this post if they ended 2013 with a National League team (thus, if you’re wondering where Alfonso Soriano and Alberto Gonzalez are, they’ll show up in the next installment of this series).
For each player, I have noted which team (or teams) they played for in 2013, and included the years they played for the Nationals in parentheses. For position players, I am giving you games, plate appearances, their slash line, and WAR (as calculated by baseball-reference.com), plus any other interesting numbers that jumped out at me for individual players. For pitchers, I’m supplying games, innings pitched, ERA, and WAR, plus, once again, any other noteworthy stats for particular pitchers. In many cases, these ex-Nats also spent time in the minor leagues in 2013, but I’m generally not going to get into their minor league performance, unless it was significant (i.e., the player spent about as much, or more, time in the minors than they did in the majors). Regarding WAR, for players who played for two different teams, I have simply added their WAR together for the sake of keeping things simple. I admit that I am not sure if that is the proper way for calculating a player’s single-season WAR when they have played for two teams.
N.B., this is a free-time labor of love. I’ve tried to be thorough, but I’m sure I’ve made mistakes or committed typos here and there, so feel free to correct me in the comments.
I hope you find all this at least mildly interesting. I think it’s particularly perspective-setting to go back and look at where the Nationals have been in the context of a disappointing season like this past one. Although we all expected better, it’s worth remembering that, not so long ago, the Nationals were built out of less-than-reliable spare parts.
And on that note, let us forthwith consider ex-Nats who played (or ended up) in the National League in 2013!
147 G, 579 PA, 24 HR, .291/.336/.511, 5.0 WAR
This time last year, I would have figured Byrd was basically done as a major league player. Instead, he had his best season ever, at least in terms of WAR (4.0 with New York, 1.0 with the Pittsburgh), and he helped the Pirates to their first winning record and postseason in over 20 years. His slugging percentage was good for 5th in the NL. He also had a good postseason: he went 2-4 with a home run and 2 RBI in the wild card game, and 6-18 in the NLDS. I’m betting he’ll be drawing a lot more interest on the free agent market than he did last year.
15 G, 16.2 IP, 7.56 ERA, WAR -0.6
Rauch has always been OK in my book…but he certainly wasn’t an effective pitcher this year. You know it’s bad when the 2013 Marlins release you in May. The Orioles signed him on June 1, but he only pitched 9.1 games for Norfolk (where he posted a 2.89 ERA) before opting out of his minor league contract. He’s not currently listed as a free agent on mlbtraderumors, so it’s not clear what his plans are for 2014.
39 G, 33.0 IP, 3.27 ERA, 0.3 WAR
Ayala was an effective reliever for the Orioles last year, but after just two games this year, they traded him to the Braves for minor leaguer Chris Jones. Ayala was decent for the Braves, although he made far fewer appearances than he did in 2012. He also threw two scoreless innings over three games in the Braves’ losing effort in the NLDS.
73 G, 249 PA, .211/.267/.251, -0.8 WAR
At 39, Carroll is presumably near the end of his career. After an okay year with the Twins in 2012, he only appeared in 59 games before the Royals purchased him. In one of those games, however, he made his first and, to date, only pitching appearance, tossing a scoreless inning. In 14 games for the Royals, he managed a .111/.190/.194 line.
Austin Kearns, Marlins (2006-2009):
19 G, 31 PA, .185/.290/.185, -0.2 WAR
Apparently a sad season for Kearns. On April 14, he was hospitalized with an irregular heartbeat. Then, on May 5, he was placed on the bereavement list; after hitting the seven-day maximum, he was moved to the restricted list. I haven’t seen any further information on what he’s been up to since May. I certainly wish him and his family well, whatever their precise circumstances.
14 G, 74.1 IP, 5.33 ERA, -0.2 WAR
I tend to think the Nats could have done better by Lannan last season, but what’s done is done, and based on his 2013, the Nats were right to part ways with him. Lannan spent most of 2013 on the DL with knee tendon problems, and he is once again a free agent this offseason.
71 G, 206 PA, .297/.320/.369, -0.2 WAR
Wil who??? Will Nieves!!! It just gets better with age, as does, apparently, Nieves himself. Well…that might be an overstatement, but he’s only eclipsed 70 games once before in his career (2009, when he appeared in 72 games with the Nats).
Roger Bernadina, Phillies (2008-2013):
27 G, 83 PA, .187/.256/.347, -0.2 WAR
Writing this entry is almost too painful to bear. The Nats released The Shark on August 19, and the Phillies scooped him up two days later. He didn’t show much in his month with the Philadelphia club, but he’s under team control for two more years, so we’ll see what they do with him going forward.
Pete Orr, Phillies (2008-2009):
15 G, 22 PA, .200/.273/.200, -0.2 WAR
Another year, another season split between the Phillies and the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
Josh Wilson, Diamondbacks (2007):
30 G, 65 PA, .200/.262/.300, 0.4 WAR
Although he started the season with the Diamondbacks, Wilson spent significantly more time playing for AAA Reno (59 G, 206 PA), but his numbers weren’t significantly better there (.219/.268/.323).
21 G, 128 IP, 3.87 ERA, 1.5 WAR
Estrada broke camp as part of the Brewers’ starting rotation, but he had an uneven April and May. He did not pitch at all between June 3 and August 7, but upon his return to the rotation he was highly effective, posting a 2.61 ERA in five August starts and a 1.63 ERA in four September starts. His K/9 and K/BB rates were also the best on the team, so he has the potential to emerge as the team’s ace next year.
1 G, 0.2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.0 WAR
Here too, Kensing’s last major league appearance was as a National. He spent most of the season in AAA Colorado Springs.
20 G, 117.2 IP, 4.05 ERA, -0.1 WAR
The facts say otherwise, but I feel as though Marquis has been pitching in the majors since at least the late 80s. Maybe I watched the Little League World Series in 1991 and that’s affecting my perception. Anyway, his 2013 season was going pretty well until July, when he tore his UCL. If he resurfaces next year, I’m guessing it won’t be until late in the season.
Laynce Nix, Phillies (2011):
81 G, 136 PA, .180/.228/.258, -0.7 WAR
Not a great season for Nix, and the Phillies released him on August 12.
45 G, 126 PA, .188/.235/.422, -0.4 WAR
Ankiel’s long and strange baseball journey continued in 2013. The Astros released him on May 9, after 25 games; the Mets signed him on May 13, but granted him free agency on June 11. He’s listed as a free agent, so perhaps there are more installments to come. It’s probably an absurd notion, but I’d like to see him try to make a comeback as a pitcher (I know I’m not alone in that regard). If he did that, he’d live on in baseball lore forever.
96 G, 226 PA, .211/.265/.275, -0.8 WAR
Hairston is now 37; his offensive production was down this season relative to his past several campaigns, and he didn’t appear in the postseason. It’ll be interesting to see if he catches on with a team next year.
Tom Gozelanny, Brewers (2011-2012):
43 G, 85.1 IP, 3.90 ERA, 0.4 WAR
Gorzo had a decent year for the Brewers, if not as strong a season as he had with the Nationals last year. Still, he managed an ERA+ over 100, and he got a change to make 10 starts (mostly, I assume, when Marco Estrada was hurt).
Henry Rodriguez, Cubs (2011-2013):
5 G, 4.0 IP, 4.50 ERA, -0.1 WAR
After 17 games, the Nats sent Rodriguez and his terror-inducing brand of pitching to the Cubs for Ian Dickson. Rodriguez only made 5 appearances for the Cubs, with another three for Iowa.
30 G, 97.0 IP, 3.06 ERA, 1.3 WAR
Gaudin was a pretty good part of a pretty good San Francisco bullpen. Unfortunately for him, the Giants starting rotation didn’t hand him a lead very often.
63 G, 142 PA, .209/.259/.271, 0.4 WAR
I am always startled when I am reminded that this man was once an All-Star.
Edwin Jackson, Cubs (2012):
31 G, 175.1 IP, 4.98 ERA, -1.3 WAR, 8-18
It may have been irrational, but I was happy to see him go last offseason. We can debate if Dan Haren was ultimately an improvement, but Jackson didn’t do much for the Cubs. His WHIP was way up, as was his H/9; his K/9 and K/BB were down; and he led the majors in losses. The Cubs will clearly be hoping for better showings over the next three seasons.
Zach Duke, Reds (2012-2013):
14 G, 10.2 IP, 0.84 ERA, 0.6 WAR
After posting an 8.71 ERA in 20.2 innings, the Nats had seen enough and released Duke on June 10. The Reds picked him up on June 14, and apparently the change of scenery did him some good. He also put up some good numbers with Louisville (26 G, 27.2 IP, 1.30 ERA).
Mike Gonzalez, Brewers (2012):
75 G, 50.0 IP, 4.68 ERA, -0.4 WAR
Brewers fans saw a lot of Gonzalez this year, but it wasn’t one of his better seasons. He still strikes guys out (10.8 K/9), but he also allows lots of baserunners (1.660 WHIP).
And there you have it. I'll be back in a few days with the ex-Nats American League roundup!