The Nationals have announced an agreement with free agent right-hander Vance Worley on a minor league contract. The deal, which features an invitation to spring training, comes with a $1MM major league salary and up to $1.65MM more in incentives, tweets Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. Worley is a client of Wasserman Media Group.
The 29-year-old Worley spent last season in nearby Baltimore, where the swingman tossed 86 2/3 innings in 35 appearances (four starts) and logged a 3.53 ERA. Worley’s run prevention success came despite underwhelming strikeout and walk rates of 5.82 and 3.63, respectively, per nine innings. The Orioles elected in December to non-tender Worley, for whom MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had projected a $3.3MM arbitration award.
While the Orioles weren’t interested in handing Worley a raise over his $2.6MM salary from last season, they did want him back in the fold at a lesser rate. In fact, general manager Dan Duquette revealed earlier Saturday that the O’s had made Worley a contract offer.
Worley will instead head back to the National League, where he began his career as a member of the Phillies from 2010-12. After a year with the Twins, he returned to the NL and pitched for the Pirates from 2014-15. The soft-tossing journeyman has never been a strikeout artist (6.76 K/9), though he has managed to post respectable walk and ground-ball rates (2.87 BB/9, 45.7 percent) en route to a career 3.75 ERA across 595 1/3 major league innings.
In Washington, Worley will join a team with an enviable starting rotation consisting of reigning NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Tanner Roark, Gio Gonzalez and Joe Ross. Strasburg and Ross each dealt with serious injury issues last season, though, and the Nationals weakened their starting depth earlier this offseason in trading Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez to the White Sox for outfielder Adam Eaton. Worley could factor into the Nats’ rotation at some point next season, then. Otherwise, barring injuries during the spring, he’s likely to vie for a bullpen role in camp.