Trevor Williams says Nationals signed him for starting role

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
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WASHINGTON — Trevor Williams showed last season that he could be a versatile part of a pitching staff, mixing in nine starts and 21 relief appearances. Still, he wanted the next club he joined to put him in the rotation – and that’s exactly what the Washington Nationals plan to do.

The right-hander said during a video conference to discuss his new two-year, $13 million contract in free agency with Washington that general manager Mike Rizzo let him know he’ll get his wish.

“The clarity when we talked was that I will be in the rotation,” Williams said from his home in San Diego. “I have the ability to do both, but to add some stability to the rotation and be able to post up 30-plus times this season is something that’s going to be asked of me.”

Williams gets $6 million next season and $7 million in 2023.

He said some clubs were trying to add him in that role, while others were looking to add him to the bullpen.

In a swing role with the New York Mets last season, Williams went 3-5 with a 3.21 ERA and one save. He had primarily been a starter before going to the Mets and knew he wanted to get back to that.

“I like preparing for my one day every five days. I love watching the other starting pitchers from the side and not from the bullpen. I love being in a rotation and posting up for those five guys. It’s something that I’ve always loved to do,” said Williams, who made his major league debut in 2016 and has pitched for the Pirates, Cubs and Mets across seven seasons, compiling a 4.27 ERA with a record of 38-44.

“I didn’t like preparing for games last year, preparing for series, and then not being able to pitch,” he said. “So for me, to prepare every five days knowing that’s it is my day – and it’s my day to go to work – is something that I’m looking forward to.”

With the Nationals, who were a majors-worst 55-107 last season, Williams becomes part of a starting staff that is expected to lean on youth, especially until injured 2019 World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg comes back – if he ever does.

Josiah Gray, 24, Cade Cavalli, 24, and MacKenzie Gore, 23, are considered building blocks for the future, but the only other starter considered likely to be back on the team is Patrick Corbin, who was a key contributor in 2019 but was 6-19 with a 6.31 ERA in 2022.

Scanning Washington’s roster, Williams said, he thought to himself: “I’m the old guy, even though I feel like I’m not too old. But I’m looking forward to taking on that role – and learning something from these kids, too.”

Notes: Williams would get a $100,000 bonus for winning a MVP or a Cy Young Award, $50,000 for second through fifth in Cy Young voting, $100,000 for Comeback Player of the Year or World Series MVP, $75,000 for League Championship Series MVP, $50,000 for a Silver Slugger and $25,000 for All-Star election or selection, or for a Gold Glove.

Dodgers to retire Fernando Valenzuela’s No. 34 this summer

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
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LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers will retire the No. 34 jersey of pitcher Fernando Valenzuela during a three-day celebration this summer.

Valenzuela was part of two World Series champion teams, winning the 1981 Rookie of the Year and Cy Young awards. He was a six-time All-Star during his 11 seasons in Los Angeles from 1980-90.

He will be honored from Aug. 11-13 when the Dodgers host Colorado.

Valenzuela will join Pee Wee Reese, Tommy Lasorda, Duke Snider, Gil Hodges, Jim Gilliam, Don Sutton, Walter Alston, Sandy Koufax, Roy Campanella, Jackie Robinson and Don Drysdale with retired numbers.

“To be a part of the group that includes so many legends is a great honor,” Valenzuela said. “But also for the fans, the support they’ve given me as a player and working for the Dodgers, this is also for them.”