Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that Jose Valverde has signed a minor-league deal with the Washington Nationals on Wednesday. He was said to be working out at the club’s spring training facility in Florida for the past week.
Valverde, 37, was released by the San Diego Padres on April 2 after a brief stint in spring training, recording a 4.15 ERA and striking out eight batters through 8 2/3 innings of work. He signed with the team on January 10 of this year.
The Dominican Republic native’s last regular season game was last year on May 26 with the New York Mets, before being released after blowing a 2-1 lead against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
In 12 years as a professional, Valverde has spent time with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Houston Astros and Detroit Tigers, securing three All-Star appearances and two Relief Man of the Year Awards.
Valverde’s most successful year came in 2011, when he led the American League in saves (49), games (75), and games finished (70). He also finished fifth in AL Cy Young Award voting, behind former teammate and fellow pitcher Justin Verlander.
During his tenure with the Mets, Valverde garnered a WAR of -0.8, a 1.645 WHIP and 5.66 ERA. NBC Sports predicts that Valverde will have to impress Washington down in Triple-A before receiving a call-up.
If he receives a promotion, the low-risk signee could bring a valuable upgrade to a bullpen that has seen constant struggles this season. The Nationals’ relievers have gone 3-4 with five saves. In 61 innings of work, the bullpen has recorded a 3.39 ERA, 1.43 WHIP and 8.11 strikeouts per nine innings.