The Nationals and righty Juan Minaya agreed to a minor league pact over the weekend, as first indicated by Rochester Red Wings director of communications Morrie Silver (Twitter link). He’s actually already made a pair of scoreless ppearances after quietly joining the organization. Minaya was passed through waivers by the Twins earlier this summer and accepted an outright at the time, in early July, but he was released back on Sept. 4.
Minaya, 32 next week, spent the first four seasons of his big league career (2016-19) with the White Sox organization and has been with the Twins since 2020. He gave Minnesota 40 sharp innings out of the bullpen in 2021, pitching to a 2.48 ERA with an above-average 25.8% walk rate but a bloated 12% walk rate as well. The Twins and other organizations were apparently somewhat skeptical of that performance, as Minaya was passed through outright waivers unclaimed last winter and returned to Minnesota on a minor league deal.
The 2022 season has been nightmarish for Minaya. The 6’4″ righty has pitched just 9 2/3 innings in the Majors, during which time he’s yielded six runs on eight hits and five walks with 11 strikeouts. Things actually went worse for Minaya with the Twins’ Triple-A affiliate in St. Paul, where he was clobbered for a 6.98 ERA with a 19.3% strikeout rate against a 10.7% walk rate while yielding an average of 1.35 homers per nine frames.
This year’s rocky showing notwithstanding, Minaya carries a 3.69 ERA in 178 big league innings. He’s averaged 94.7 mph on his heater — though that was down to 93.8 mph in 2022 — fanned just over a quarter of his opponents (25.2%) and walked batters at a 10.7% clip. If the Nats select Minaya to the big league roster before season’s end, he’d technically be controllable for several more years via arbitration, although given his struggles to this point in the season, that seems unlikely. Rather, the final stretch of games could serve as a minor league audition for the 2023 campaign, when a rebuilding Nats club will surely need plenty of veteran bullpen depth of this nature to vie for jobs next spring or to stash in the upper minors.