The Nationals announced that right-hander Jeremy Guthrie has been designated for assignment, and in a corresponding move, righty Matt Albers’ contract has been selected from Triple-A to fill the spot on the 25-man roster.
Guthrie signed a minor league deal with the Nats in February and got an opportunity to start yesterday due to something of a rotation crunch (Stephen Strasburg was given an extra day of rest and Joe Ross wasn’t yet eligible to be called back up after being optioned to Triple-A). Unfortunately for Guthrie and the Nationals, the start was a disastrous one — Guthrie allowed 10 earned runs over just 2/3 of an inning in an eventual 17-3 loss to the Phillies. Adding insult to injury, yesterday was also Guthrie’s 38th birthday.
The outing was Guthrie’s first MLB appearance since 2015, as the veteran posted a 5.95 ERA over 148 1/3 innings for the Royals and didn’t make the postseason roster for the eventual World Series’ champions. Guthrie also struggled in 2016 pitching at the Triple-A level for the Padres and Marlins, posting a 7.17 ERA over 86 2/3 IP within the two organizations. Given Guthrie’s age and lack of recent effectiveness, it seems questionable whether he could catch on with another team, though a move to relief pitching seems necessary for the longtime durable starter. Guthrie averaged 201 innings per season from 2008-14 with the Royals, Rockies and Orioles, and he owns a career 4.42 ERA over 1765 1/3 innings in parts of 13 big league seasons.
Albers also signed a minor deal with Washington in February, though the Nats released him at the end of Spring Training and re-signed the righty to a new contract. Both deals were for the same terms — a $1.15MM base salary for making the MLB roster and another $600K available in incentives. Albers suffered through a rough 2016 season with the White Sox (6.31 ERA in 51 1/3 IP) but the pitch-to-contact specialist posted a 2.32 ERA, 6.1 K/9, 2.02 K/BB rate and a 59.2% ground-ball rate over 170 2/3 IP from 2012-15.