Rob Grabowski-US PRESSWIRE
MLB.com's Bill Ladson reported this afternoon that the Washington Nationals had agreed on a minor league deal with 10-year veteran lefty Will Ohman adding another reliever to the mix in the bullpen a day before pitchers and catchers report to Viera, Florida.
MLB.com's Bill Ladson announced via Twitter this morning that the Washington Nationals had agreed on a minor league deal with another veteran left-hander who'll head down to Florida and compete for a spot in the Nats' bullpen:
Ohman, 35, pitched for the White Sox in 2012 in his 10th major league season, going (0-2) with a 6.41 ERA, 6.28 FIP, five walks (1.69 BB/9) and 13 Ks in 32 games and 26.2 IP before he was released in early July. Ohman was in his second season with Chicago (on a 2-year/$4M dollar deal) after he went (1-3) with a 4.22 ERA, 4.13 FIP, 17 walks (2.87 BB/9) and 54 Ks (9.11 K/9) in 59 games and 53.1 IP in 2011. The veteran lefty signed with Cincinnati a few weeks after he was released by the White Sox last summer and he made 15 appearances for the Reds' Triple-A affiliate but was never called up to the majors.
The left-hander will likely compete for a role in the bullpen along with Billy Bray and Zach Duke, though the Nationals have been clear all winter about the fact that they don't necessarily feel the need to have a left-handed specialist in the pen since their right-handers have solid splits against left-handed hitters. Rizzo explained the team's position in a recent MLB Network Radio interview:
"[Davey Johnson is] not the type of manager who is going to go left-on-left a whole lot, and he likes his relief pitchers to pitch a complete inning. So it's not a vital component for us. If the right guy fell to us and we could make a deal, we would certainly be open-minded about it but when you look at Tyler Clippard, Craig Stammen and Ryan Mattheus, those guys really can get out left-handed hitters and it wouldn't be something that we would be fearful going into the season with just one lefty in the bullpen."
In addition to Bray, Duke and now Ohman, the Nationals have signed Fernando Abad and Brandon Mann this winter, and left-hander Patrick McCoy was already in the organization.