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Nationals Re-Sign Jefry Rodriguez To Minor League Deal

The Nationals have brought right-handers Jefry Rodriguez and Luis Reyes back to the organization on a pair of minor league deals, tweets Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post.

Rodriguez, 28, has spent time in Majors in parts of three seasons, including a pair of separate stints with the Nats. He’s totaled 123 innings of 5.34 ERA ball between Washington and Cleveland, striking out 16.8% of his opponents against a 13.7% walk rate that is far too high. He tossed 24 1/3 frames for the Nationals in 2021, yielding an unsightly 16 runs on 25 hits and 17 walks with 20 strikeouts.

Rough big league numbers notwithstanding, Rodriguez posted strong numbers in the middle levels of the minors and has a 4.29 ERA in 100 2/3 innings of Triple-A ball. His 21.3% strikeout rate and 11.6% walk rate in Triple-A still leave something to be desired, but Rodriguez has posted decent run-prevention numbers throughout his minor league tenure and still sits around 95 mph with his heater.

The 27-year-old Reyes will give the Nats some innings in the upper minors as well. He’s spent parts of eight minor league seasons in the Nationals organization since signing as a teenager out of the Dominican Republic in 2012. Reyes split the 2021 season between Double-A and Triple-A, pitching to a combined 5.19 ERA in 126 2/3 innings. He’s spent his entire pro career to this point in the same organization and will hope for an opportunity to make his debut at some point in the 2022 season.

Both Rodriguez and Reyes return as depth options for a Nationals club that is in clear need of stockpiling just that. With Max Scherzer now a free agent, Joe Ross ending the season with a slight UCL tear (which did not require surgery) and both Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin coming off disappointing 2021 campaigns, Washington’s once-vaunted rotation is rather suddenly a collection of question marks.

The Nats will likely give young righty Josiah Gray plenty of opportunity in 2022, and it’s all but a certainty that they’ll add a veteran starter or two this winter. Still, retaining some familiar organizational depth makes some sense for them, and they’ll probably be on the lookout for other rotation hopefuls they can bring into the fold on non-guaranteed pacts in addition to whatever Major League deals are signed. The Nats also brought back lefty Sean Nolin on a minor league deal earlier this month.

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