The Nationals have agreed to a minor-league deal with southpaw Vidal Nuno, according to Jon Heyman of Fancred (via Twitter). He’ll receive an invitation to participate in MLB Spring Training as well as opt-out opportunities if he doesn’t earn a roster spot. Nuno would earn at a $1.3MM rate in the big leagues.
Nuno, 31, turned in a sparkling 1.64 ERA in 33 frames last year for the Rays. His underlying peripherals, however, were not quite so promising as the bottom-line results would otherwise suggest. Nuno was helped along by a .216 batting average on balls in play and 100% strand rate.
Teams clearly do not anticipate that Nuno will be capable of replicating his 2018 output; otherwise, he’d have been claimed when he was outrighted after the end of the season or would have commanded a MLB deal in free agency. Still, he seems to be a worthwhile depth piece, having compiled a 4.06 ERA with 7.5 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 over nearly four hundred career frames at the game’s highest level.
For the Nats, Nuno could represent both rotation and left-handed relief depth. He took ten starts at Triple-A last year but has mostly worked out of the pen in recent major league campaigns. Historically, Nuno has found much greater success against same-handed hitters, so he could compete for a LOOGY job in camp.