Parra Shark Ripples:
Before Sunday afternoon’s game, Washington’s Nationals announced that they had selected the contract of outfielder Gerardo Parra, optioned infielder Luis García to Triple-A Rochester (after Saturday’s game), and designated left-handed pitcher Ben Braymer for assignment.
It’s great to see Parra back in the big leagues, of course, but the move had some ripple effects.
Braymer, 27, and a 2016 18th Round pick by the Nationals, debuted for the Nats in 2020’s 60-game campaign, but he was struggling at Triple-A Rochester, with a 6.75 ERA, 18 BBs, and 20 Ks in seven starts and 28 IP this season before he was DFA’d.
What was the organization’s thinking behind the decision to DFA the lefty?
“One, we needed a roster spot,” Davey Martinez explained when he spoke to reporters on a Zoom call before Sunday’s series finale with the New York Mets.
“I’ve said this before, it’s not like — he was struggling a little bit — it’s not like — we hope that we can get him back and we can keep developing, but it gives him an opportunity if another team wants him to go out there and go pitch for somebody else, but with that being said, left-handed pitchers are hard to come by, we still would like to have him, but he needs to develop, he needs to get better.”
Asked what they wanted to see from Braymer that they weren’t in terms of his development, Martinez explained that it’s all about consistency.
“We need to see him be more consistent,” the manager said. “And that’s the big key, and that’s always the key for young players to begin with, is consistency.
“In order to play in the big leagues, we talk a lot about being consistent and he just hasn’t shown us the consistency yet.”
García got sent down to Triple-A as well, after another stint in the majors, and Martinez said it’s all just about getting the 21-year-old infielder consistent ABs and reps in the field.
“Exactly,” Martinez said. “Here’s one of young prospects that he needs to go play, and play every day. And I talked to him when he came up about that. Just, ‘Hey, I’m going to try to get you in there against some right-handed pitching, but if everything goes well with Starlin [Castro],” who was placed on the Restricted List earlier this week, then returned to the team, “‘we get him back, there’s a good possibility we’re going to have to send you back, because you need you to play every day.’ And he understands. We want to develop him.
“When he comes up here, he gets an opportunity to play every day, to do well, do well up here, but he needs to go out there and get his at bats, get his at bats against left-handed pitching, keep working on his defense, keep working on his baserunning and become that complete ballplayer that we think he can become.”
There was a need in the outfield though, with Andrew Stevenson on the IL with an oblique strain, and Yadiel Hernández optioned to Triple-A recently as well.
Was the move to bring Parra up a sign that Stevenson might be out for a while?
“With these obliques, it takes a while, and it’s something he needs to fully recover or else it’s a nagging injury,” Martinez said.
“Obviously there is no timetable right now, but he’s not going to be able to swing a bat probably till we get back from the road trip or even a little bit longer than that. So we’ll see. He says he feels fine, he hasn’t done much. He’s just getting treatment. I know he’s doing some work on his lower half, but he still can’t do hardly much now because of his oblique, and what he can do as far as range of motion and stuff like that is very minimal.”
The decision to DFA Braymer comes not too long after the Nationals DFA’d right-hander Rogelio Armenteros, who was claimed off waivers from the Astros this winter, but was struggling at Triple-A after working his way back from injuries and a slow start.
That’s two pitchers in a couple weeks, so what sort of depth do the Nationals have in the minors, in their manager’s mind, that they could comfortably make those moves?
“Our pitching depth is really, really good,” Martinez said.
“I mean, we don’t have to say enough about [Cade] Cavalli, but we got a lot of young guys down there. [Joan] Adon is throwing the ball really well. Cole [Henry] was throwing the ball well. We got Tim Cate, we got a lot of guys that have done well, and they’re down there developing. We’re fortunate to have so many young pitchers that we’ve got our eyes on. And like I said, Armenteros, he cleared waivers, so he’s back. You hope that when you do get DFA’d, there’s another team that wants these guys or needs these guys, but also in a selfish way, we hope to get these guys back because we still like them, it’s not like we don’t like them. We still like them and we feel like, hey with some more time they could still help us here in the future. So just because they get DFA’d doesn’t mean that it’s the end all, so we hope that, like I said, we get Braymer back and we continue to work with him and develop him.”
Good News - Scherzer Edition:
After throwing a 40-pitch bullpen session on Saturday, Max Scherzer told reporters he was good to go for Tuesday after missing one turn in the rotation after tweaking his groin, and his manager confirmed on Sunday that barring any setbacks or hiccups, it will be the Nats’ ace starting the first of two with the Phillies on Tuesday night.
“If everything goes well the next few days he will start on Tuesday,” Martinez confirmed. “As you know — he probably told you that already, so it’s no big surprise. But yeah, he felt good today.
“He’ll continue his work like he always does and prepare for Tuesday.”
And there will be no limitations on the 36-year-old righty once he’s back on the mound.
“No, he’s going to go out there, and that’s one thing we always talk with him, he doesn’t want any limitations and neither do we,” Martinez said.
“We want him to go out there and just go through the game like he normally does, and give us as many pitches as he possibly can.”
Quick Hits - Injury Updates:
Huddy: Daniel Hudson was IL’d with right elbow inflammation earlier this month, and according to Davey Martinez, the veteran reliever hasn’t started throwing yet.
“No, he has not thrown yet, he is getting better,” Martinez said on Sunday. “It’s been a slow process. But hopefully he’s going on the road trip with us this week, he’s feeling better, so the intent is to hopefully get him to start throwing some time next week.”
So, since going on the IL on June 12th, what has Hudson been doing?
“He’s just sitting and we’re waiting for that inflammation to completely go down,” Martinez said. “Here’s a guy who’s had multiple Tommy John surgeries, so we got to be really careful.”
J-Cheddar: Jackson Rutledge, the Nationals’ 2019 1st Round pick, was shut down in late May with a right shoulder issue. He’s been in West Palm Beach, FL working out.
“Jackson still — he’s in Florida, and he’s rehabbing,” Martinez said on Sunday. “He’s getting better. It’s slow. And like I said, he’s another one of those young guys that— when these guys have these little injuries, we just want to make sure that they’re fully-recovered before we get them back on the mound. But he’s definitely coming along, he’s getting better, so hopefully it won’t be long before he starts pitching again.”
Stras OK after throwing: “Yeah, so far so good,” Martinez said of the light throwing that ‘09 No. 1 overall pick Stephen Strasburg has done recently as he works his way back from a neck strain (nerve irritation) that landed him on the IL. “He’s done well, and he feels a lot better, so we’ll continue his throwing program, and he’s another one that’s going with us on the road, we’ll keep eyes on him, he’ll continue to throw and hopefully build him up.”