Jose Valverde signs with the Nationals

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Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that veteran reliever Jose Valverde has signed with the Nationals after opting out of a minor-league contract with the Padres three weeks ago.

It’s another minor-league deal for Valverde, the 37-year-old former All-Star closer who struggled during spring training and hasn’t pitched well in the majors since 2012.

It’s possible he still has enough left in the tank to be useful to the Nationals in a middle relief role, but Valverde will likely have to impress at Triple-A to earn a call-up.

Freddie Freeman has elbow surgery

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Freddie Freeman‘s elbow began barking in the second half of the season and he was a shadow of himself in the month of September. The Braves rested him for half a minute in the season’s final week but he still played 158 games in 2019. They said he was good to go for the NLDS but he was clearly limited, going 4-for-22 in the Braves’ series loss to the Cardinals.

Today the Braves announced that Freeman underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow on Wednesday. The team said today that the procedure involved the removal of three fragmented loose bodies and the cleaning up of multiple bone spur formations.

It’s not clear if more rest down the stretch would’ve made a difference for him — and it’s not clear that the Braves had options at first base for the postseason that were substantially better than even a limited Freeman — but it’s clear that not having Freeman feeling like himself in the heart of the order was a problem.

Freeman is expected to be good-to-go for spring training.