Before the potential deal with Bud Norris fell through last week, Washington Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo acknowledged, in a visit with 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies, that he was looking at options to bolster the relief corps, which has gotten off to a rough start.
“We’ll probably give him an opportunity on a minor league contract to see what he’s got left,” Rizzo explained, “... and if he’s an upgrade of one of the eight relievers that we have now you may see him in the big leagues, if not he’ll be a depth piece for us in the minor leagues, but nothing is imminent, we haven’t signed him yet, but we are looking at him.”
Norris, the Nationals reportedly felt, was still weeks away from being ready to contribute, so nothing came of that look at the veteran, but Rizzo and Co. in the front office are apparently still looking for ways to improve the bullpen.
Multiple reports on Monday said the Nationals signed 31-year-old left-hander Dan Jennings to a minor league deal.
Jennings made 72 appearances out of the ‘pen for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2018, putting up a 3.22 ERA, a 4.09 FIP, 23 walks, 45 Ks, and a .275/.337/.421 line against in 64 1⁄3 innings, .226/.266/.304 vs lefties, and .320/.399/.528 vs right-handed hitters.
Jennings signed a minor league deal with the Los Angeles Angels this winter, but he was released in late March.
With a combined 7.75 bullpen ERA, which is the National League’s worst, a 5.22 FIP, sixth-highest among NL teams, a .304 BAA, the second-highest, and a 1.80 WHIP, also second-highest, the Nationals could use some help, though the Nats currently have three lefties, Sean Doolittle, Matt Grace, and Tony Sipp, in the big league bullpen.
Will we see Jennings in the majors with the Nationals at some point? Is he an upgrade over any of the left-handers currently in the bullpen?
Washington Nationals are nearing agreement with LHP Dan Jennings on a minor league deal.— Baseball-Rosters (@RosterRoundup) April 15, 2019
Source confirms that the Nationals have signed left-handed reliever Dan Jennings to a minor league contract. Not sure who put this out first — it was not me — but Jennings will go to extended spring training.— Jesse Dougherty (@dougherty_jesse) April 15, 2019