While they still don’t have the bona fide closer they have been after all off-season, the Washington Nationals have added depth to their bullpen.
According to a report by Washington Post writer Jorge Castillo, the relief corps got a little deeper this morning when the Nationals signed free agent right-hander Joe Blanton to what is reportedly a 1-year/$4M deal, pending completion of a physical.
Blanton, 36, spent the 2016 season in the LA Dodgers’ bullpen, posting a 2.48 ERA, a 3.33 FIP, 26 walks (2.93 BB/9) and 80 Ks (9.00 K/9) in 75 appearances and 80 innings pitched.
It was Blanton’s first season pitching exclusively out of the bullpen since he transitioned into a late-career role as a reliever after starting for the Oakland A’S, Philadelphia Phillies, LA Angels, Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals over the course of his 12-year career in the majors.
Blanton featured mostly his slider (86-89 mph) last season, holding opposing hitters to a .176 AVG with the pitch.
Overall, Blanton held opposing hitters to a combined .192/.263/.310 line last season.
More info on the latest addition to the Nationals’ pen when it is available...
The Nationals have signed Joe Blanton to a one-year deal, per source. He's in town today, presumably for his physical.— Jorge Castillo (@jorgeccastillo) February 28, 2017
Source: Blanton deal with #Nationals is for one year, $4M, plus $1M in possible performance bonuses. Pending a physical.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 28, 2017
In true Nats fashion, personal familiar says $3M of Blanton's salary is deferred. Not sure of breakdown. But that would leave $1M this year.— Barry Svrluga (@barrysvrluga) February 28, 2017