The Nationals have claimed Patrick Murphy off waivers from the Blue Jays, per Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com. Murphy was designated for assignment by the Blue Jays earlier in the week. Additionally, the club has released Rene Rivera, per Jessica Camerato of MLB.com.
Murphy worked as a starter in the minors through the 2019 season. At Double-A that year, he logged 84 innings with an ERA of 4.71. In 2020, with the minor league season wiped out, he was only able to get actual game action in the big leagues, pitching six innings out of Toronto’s bullpen, allowing one earned run on six hits and two walks.
A consistent issue with Murphy has been injuries, which continued this year. He was placed on the 60-day IL back in February and began a rehab assignment in late May. Since that time, he bounced between the majors and minors, being optioned three times. He’s dominated Triple-A hitters in 14 2/3 scoreless innings, with a strikeout rate of 29.3%. Though that also came with a concerning walk rate of 13.8%. At the big league level, he has a 4.82 ERA, but in a small sample size of just 9 1/3 innings. The 26-year-old is in his last option year, meaning Washington can keep him in the minors for the remainder of the season. But once the 2022 season begins, they would have to either keep him in the majors or designate him for assignment again.
As for Rivera, this brings a very short Nationals tenure to an end. The 38-year-old journeyman catcher was released by Cleveland just over a month ago and signed on with Washington in mid-July. He was able to appear in just four games with the Nats. Between the two clubs, his slash line for the season is .232/.293/.362. He will now be free to sign with other clubs. However, Washington had placed him on the IL just last week with an elbow contusion. The severity of that injury could determine the level of interest from other teams.