Bill Bray was signed to compete for a spot in the Nationals’ bullpen, but the left-hander has already been reassigned to minor league camp and figures to begin the season at Triple-A.
And he might be there for a while, because James Wagner of the Washington Post dug into the details of Bray’s contract and found that he has an opt-out clause in June. That’s much later than the typical opt-out clause and means the Nationals can get a long look at Bray in the minors before deciding whether he fits into their plans.
Bray was hurt for most of last season and has a long history of injuries, but when healthy he’s been an effective setup man and posted a 3.40 ERA with 8.7 strikeouts per nine innings in 114 appearances between 2010 and 2011.
Free agent right-hander Ervin Santana picked up a minor league deal with the White Sox, according to various reports Friday. Per Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com, Santana will make $4.33 million if he manages to crack the major-league roster this spring. Any official confirmation from the team is still dependent on the results of a physical.
The veteran righty hasn’t seen any action in MLB for some time. He was laid low by prolonged discomfort in his right middle finger last spring, and underwent a capsular release/debridement procedure that kept him off the mound for all but 24 2/3 innings of his 2018 campaign with the Twins. When healthy, however, he’s been as durable and productive as they come. Santana earned his second career All-Star distinction in 2017 and pitched to a 16-8 record in 33 starts with three shutouts, a 3.28 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 7.1 SO/9, and 2.9 fWAR through 211 1/3 innings.
Barring further complications with his pitching hand, the 36-year-old should be a stabilizing force for the White Sox’ rotation in 2019 — assuming he can beat out southpaw Manny Bañuelos and right-handers Jordan Stephens and Dylan Covey for a back-end role, that is. According to FanGraphs, the club’s starters ranked worst in the league in 2018 with a collective 5.07 ERA, 5.18 FIP, and 3.1 fWAR.