Nationals Make More Roster Moves

Posted by Dave Nichols | Friday, February 04, 2011 | , , , , , | 0 comments »

The Washington Nationals just sent out a press release announcing they have agreed to terms with right-handed pitcher J.D. Martin, catcher Carlos Maldonado and first baseman Kevin Barker on minor-league contracts with invitations to Spring Training.

Additionally, the Nationals extended Spring Training invitations to right-handed pitcher Josh Wilkie, left-handed pitcher Matt Chico and catchers Derek Norris and Jhonatan Solano.

(C.Nichols/Nats News Network)
Martin went 1-5 and posted a 4.13 ERA in nine starts for the Nationals last season and is 6-9 with a 4.32 ERA in 24 career starts during two seasons (2009-10) with Washington. The 28-year-old went 2-2 with a 3.51 ERA in seven starts with Syracuse in 2010.

Maldonado, 32, hit .233/.293/.314 in 63 games with Syracuse in 2010 and Barker, 35, went .291/.416/.510 playing for Veracruz, an independent affiliation in the Triple-A Mexican League.  Both have had cups of coffee thoughout their extensive minor league career, and were signed primarily to fill out the roster in Syracuse this summer.

The "news" out of all of this is the invitation to Norris to spring training.  The soon to be 22-year old doesn't have enough service time to have to be protected on the Nats 40-man roster yet, and he's steadily working his way up through the minor leagues. 

We shouldn't read too much into this though.  Since the Nats only have three catchers on the 40-man (Ivan Rodriguez, Jesus Flores and Wilson Ramos), they needed a few more catchers in camp to handle all the pitchers.

Norris hit .235/.419/.419 in 399 plate appearances last season for Single-A Potomac.  He hit 12 home runs and drove in 49, while throwing out 51 percent (29-of-57) of runners attempting to steal against him.  He possesses a .414 OBP in 327 career minor league games.

Fan-favorite Josh Wilkie went undrafted out of George Washington Univeristy and has toiled in the Nats system for the last five seasons, reaching Syracuse last year, where he went 4-4 with eight saves and a 2.45 ERA and 1.134 WHIP (8.0 K/9, 2.8 BB/9) in 53 games.

Lefty Matt Chico made one spot start for the Nats last year, giving up two earned runs in five innings, and went 6-7 with a 3.73 ERA in Syracuse.  The 27-year old led the Nats in innings pitched in 2007 as a rookie before surgery robbed him of a year of service.