Nationals Sign Josh Roenicke

9:38pm: Roenicke's deal includes a June 15th opt-out clause, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com.

11:44am: The Nationals announced (via Twitter) that they have agreed to a minor league contract and an invitation to Major League Spring Training with right-hander Josh Roenicke. The 31-year-old Legacy Agency client spent the 2013 campaign pitching out of the Twins' bullpen but was outrighted off the 40-man roster and elected free agency back in October.

The Twins claimed Roenicke off waivers from the Rockies following the 2012 season, and he appeared in 63 games for Minnesota in his lone year with the club (he also appeared in 63 games for Colorado the year prior). With Minnesota, Roenicke posted a 4.35 ERA with 6.5 K/9, 5.2 BB/9 and a 41.1 percent ground-ball rate. In addition to clearly struggling with his command, Roenicke's 91.4 mph average fastball velocity was a career-low, as was his ground-ball rate. 

Roenicke, the son of former Orioles outfielder Gary Roenicke and nephew of current Brewers manager Ron Roenicke, is also the brother-in-law of Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond (per Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post on Twitter). Once a well-regarded bullpen prospect in the Reds organization, Roenicke was traded to the Blue Jays along with Zach Stewart and Edwin Encarnacion in the deal that sent Scott Rolen to Cincinnati.

In 220 1/3 innings, Roenicke has a career ERA of 4.17 with 6.9 K/9, 4.8 BB/9 and a 46.7 percent ground-ball rate between the Reds, Jays, Rockies and Twins.



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