The Nationals are in agreement with lefty reliever Fernando Abad on a minor league contract, tweets Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The Octagon client will presumably be in Major League camp once Spring Training opens.
Abad, who turned 34 yesterday, appeared in 21 games with the Giants in 2019, totaling 13 innings of 4.15 ERA ball with nine strikeouts against three walks. He was terrific in the exorbitantly hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League as well, logging a 3.07 ERA with 10.0 K/9, 0.8 BB/9, 0.61 HR/9 and a 44.4 percent ground-ball rate in 44 innings of work there.
This will be the second tour of duty with the Nats for Abad, who tossed 37 2/3 innings of 3.35 ERA ball over the life of 39 games for Washington back in 2013. Abad has bounced all over the league for the better part of a decade, pitching with the Astros, Nationals, Athletics, Twins, Red Sox and Giants in a career that began with Houston in 2010. He didn’t pitch in affiliated ball in 2018 thanks largely to an 80-game PED suspension.
While he’s never really settled in as a steadying presence in any one club’s bullpen, he’s generally been an effective reliever; Abad has a career 3.67 ERA in 330 2/3 innings as a big leaguer — including a 3.18 ERA (3.97 FIP) with 7.9 K/9 against 3.0 BB/9 dating back to the aforementioned 2013 season. He’s held left-handed opponents to a lifetime .234/.238/.378 batting line, while right-handers have handled him a bit better with a .257/.338/.412 slash to show for their efforts.