The Nationals have inked righty Jeremy Guthrie to a minor-league pact, the club announced. He’ll receive an invitation to the major league side of spring camp, and can opt out on March 27th if he’s not added to the MLB roster (per ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick, on Twitter).
Guthrie, who’ll turn 38 in April, didn’t appear in the majors last year after a dozen seasons in the bigs. He went to camp with the Rangers and spent time at Triple-A with the Padres and Marlins, but was hit hard at every stop in 2016. Over his 86 2/3 frames at the highest level of the minors, Guthrie worked to a 7.17 ERA with 5.5 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9.
The last time that Guthrie threw in the majors, in 2015 with the Royals, he wasn’t much better. He ended that campaign with a 5.95 ERA in 148 1/3 innings. That being said, he was still averaging 92 mph with his fastball and cycling through what Pitch F/X classifies as a six-pitch mix. And it wasn’t long ago that Guthrie was racking up sturdy, 200+ inning seasons with regularity. From 2007 through 2014, the durable veteran averaged 197 frames annually while carrying a 4.18 ERA.
Presumably, the Nats intend for Guthrie to function as a depth piece, as the organization has its five-man rotation set. He’ll likely represent an option if there’s an injury in camp, or if the need for an arm comes up during the course of the season.