Tyler Clippard has returned to the Nationals organization, as The Washington Post’s Barry Svrluga reported that the Nats had a locker waiting for the veteran right-hander. The Post’s Jesse Dougherty confirmed that Clippard was indeed a non-roster invite to the club’s big league spring camp.
Clippard first pitched for Washington from 2008-14, a stint that solidified Clippard as a solid and sometimes elite bullpen arm. The righty posted a 2.68 ERA, 28.5% strikeout rate, and 9.8% walk rate over his 464 previous innings in a Nats uniform, twice reaching the NL All-Star team and operating as either a workhorse setup man or (in 2012) as a closer. The two sides parted ways in January 2015, when the Nationals traded Clippard to the A’s for Yunel Escobar.
That swap kicked off a nomadic stretch for Clippard, as he saw action with nine different teams from 2015-21. Despite the lack of stability, Clippard was still posting effective numbers, with a 3.47 ERA, 25.9% strikeout rate, and 9.0% walk rate in 376 1/3 frames in those seven seasons. There was a bit of a bump in home run rate (8.2% with Washington and 10.0% elsewhere), which isn’t a huge surprise given Clippard’s extreme fly-ball tendencies.
Never a high-velocity arm even in his prime years, Clippard has relied on soft contact and an excellent changeup as the keys to his success. Clippard’s strikeout totals have declined over the last four years, however, and his fastball averaged only 88.9 mph over 25 1/3 innings with the Diamondbacks in 2021.
Clippard got a late start late season, as a shoulder injury kept him from any big league action until July 21. Arizona declined their side of a $3.5MM mutual option for the 2022 season, thus sending Clippard into free agency entering his age-37 campaign.
Between the additions of Steve Cishek, Sean Doolittle, and now Clippard, the Nationals have bolstered their young relief corps with plenty of veteran experience. Given the amount of uncertainty in the D.C. bullpen, Clippard probably stands a pretty good chance of breaking camp with the team and even getting a crack at some high-leverage innings. It remains to be seen exactly how the Nats will line up their relievers in late-game situations, or whether or not manager Davey Martinez will go purely situational rather than have a set order for the seventh, eighth, or even ninth innings.
Wow, kind of surprised he didn’t get a ML deal. Yet, Joe Jimenez is sitting on a pile of $1.5m at season’s end.
FredMcGriff for the HOF
Yankees gave up on Clippard too soon early in his career.
Amazing. I remember him on the Kei Igawa Yankees. That was the season where Chase Wright gave up four homers in a row to Boston.
Love Rizzo but come on man wtf are we doing inviting every former National from 5+ years ago on the team. I think the offense will be a little better than people expect but the pitching is an absolute joke and this further adds to it.
It’s a minors deal, relax. His major league base contract would most likely also be low. He doesn’t break camp or sucks in April, we cut him. Or the idea is he is what he always is, trade him for a prospect in July. OR EVEN BETTER, we somehow take off and he’s an anchor. We can only dream. Believe in Rizzo my guy.
I’ll always believe in Riz he’s top 5 in the game, just sick and tired of the constant joke of a bullpen we have every year. There’s gotta be a better way of doing it.
This season it’s all about finding guys to eat some innings and maybe mentor a few of the young arms. Plus, guys like Clippard and Anibal Sanchez have enough history with the Nats and Rizzo that they may be willing to begin the season in the minors to help the immediate roster crunch. Trusting that they’ll get added soon enough as needed.
Clipboard is not a joke. Obviously he’s trying for personal reasons as he has already made 40m and has a great pension waiting for him. Much better than most of the minor league signings around the league too. He gets the most out of what he has vs. pitchers that throw 98 and can’t get anyone out.
Was that autocorrect? Interesting choice…
I liked him with the Mets. I was hoping they might bring him back at some point, but they’re full of righties in the pen. I think Chasen Shreve will make the roster. I’d think someone would be interested in Tony Watson.
I like Clippard and players like him who grind it out every year. I honestly thought he had pitched for than 10 teams though, just seems like it I guess.
He has pitched for 10 teams. Pretty good career except for his short reunion time with the Yankees.
OK. Where is Drew Storen? Nats are going with the nostalgia roster, so they might as well bring back “Clip & Stor” at the back of the pen.
Need Chad Cordero too. Clip, Storen, Save.
Can’t believe he didn’t get a Major League deal. One of the more underrated relievers of the last decade. Whatever role was asked of him, he took the ball and took care of business.
It appears the Nats are loading up on veterans who may have some trade value in July = Doolittle, Clippard, Sanchez, Nelson Cruz, etc.
Still think they should’ve held out on trading Trea Turner – they would’ve still gotten Josiah Gray and KRuiz straight up for Max. Trea should have been the big trade chip this July. I’m not a real fan of gutting a good team at the last minute and starting from rock bottom – which i think this season will be.