Nationals sign Jason Marquis to two-year deal

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Washington recently was said to be making a “strong push” for Jon Garland, but the Nationals apparently balked at his demand for a three-year contract and turned their attention to the equally veteran and similarly mediocre Jason Marquis, signing him to a reported two-year, $15 million contract.
Marquis won 15 games and tossed 216 innings for Colorado last season, posting a solid 4.04 ERA despite calling Coors Field home. However, he had ERAs of 4.60 and 4.53 in two seasons with the Cubs prior to joining the Rockies and was disastrous for the Cardinals in 2006, posting a 6.02 ERA while leading the league in losses, homers allowed, and runs allowed.
He’s a veteran of a decade in the majors with a 4.48 career ERA, and last season’s 115/80 K/BB ratio suggests that he was quite fortunate to post a 4.04 mark in Colorado. Marquis certainly isn’t without value and can be penciled in for 180-200 innings of league-average pitching, but I’m not really sure why a team coming off back-to-back 100-loss campaigns should be paying $7.5 million per season for a 31-year-old fourth starter.
Of course, I also failed to grasp why the Nationals needed to spend $6 million on a backup catcher, albeit one headed to the Hall of Fame. General manager Mike Rizzo has seemingly made paying premium prices for veteran mediocrity a priority this offseason, which is an odd use of resources and playing time for a team that isn’t anywhere close to contending. Ninety-five losses or bust!

Brock Holt has been shut down from game activity

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Things have gone from bad to worse for Red Sox’ outfielder Brock Holt, who was shut down “for the foreseeable future” on Friday after meeting with head trauma specialist Michael Collins. The Red Sox placed Holt on the 10-day disabled list in April after he began experiencing vertigo, the latest in a series of head injuries he’s sustained since last spring.

According to the Boston Herald’s Jason Mastrodonato, the outfielder was initially advised to attempt playing through his symptoms, but it quickly became apparent that the strategy wasn’t going to work. Now, the plan is to shut him down from any game activity in the hopes that he’ll be able to recover from all lingering symptoms before returning to the roster. Club manager John Farrell told reporters that the 28-year-old is still cleared to take batting practice and work on his defense, but won’t continue his rehab starts in Triple-A Pawtucket for the time being.

Holt had been making regular appearances for the Pawtucket Red Sox and was batting .209/.292/.372 with two home runs through 14 games this spring. This season marks his fifth run within the Red Sox’ organization. He experienced a bit of a slump at the plate in 2016 and slashed .255/.322/.383 after breaking out during his first All-Star year in 2015.

Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe suggests that the team’s concern for Holt extends past his setbacks at the plate. It’s still a long road to a full recovery, and while Farrell told reporters he believes the outfielder is on track to make a return sometime in 2017, he’ll need to make sure that Holt is both physically and mentally prepared to do so.

Nationals Acquire Ryan Raburn From White Sox

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The Washington Nationals have acquired outfielder Ryan Raburn from the Chicago White Sox. Raburn had been playing at Triple-A Charlotte. He’ll be assigned to Triple-A Syracuse in the Nats organization. The Nationals will send cash or a player to be named later to the White Sox to complete the deal.

Raburn has yet to play in the majors this season. Last year he hit .220/.309/.404 with nine homers in 113 games for the Colorado Rockies. The year before that he hit an excellent .301/.393/.543 in part time play for the Indians. Over the course of his 11 year career the 36-year-old has hit .253/.317/.436, which breaks down to an OPS+ of exactly 100, which is league average. Primarily an outfielder, Raburn has played every position except shortstop and catcher in his career. He’s even pitched twice.

The Nats plans for him aren’t entirely clear, but depth it depth.