The Nationals announced Wednesday that right-hander A.J. Alexy, whom they claimed off waivers from the Rangers last month, has been designated for assignment. His spot on the 40-man roster will go to first baseman Dominic Smith, whose previously reported one-year deal is now official.
Alexy’s stay with the Nats could prove quite brief. The 24-year-old, originally a Dodgers draft pick who went to Texas as part of 2017’s Yu Darvish trade, has pitched 30 innings in the big leagues over the past two seasons, logging a combined 6.30 ERA with more walks (26) than strikeouts (23). However, he’s just one season removed from outstanding results in the upper minors, as he pitched to a combined 1.66 ERA with a 29.9% strikeout rate and 10.6% walk rate in 65 innings between Double-A Frisco and Triple-A Round Rock.
The 2022 season was rough all-around for Alexy, evidenced by a 5.91 ERA in 96 Triple-A frames and nine runs in seven big league innings. He averaged a solid 94.4 mph on his heater, though, and has above-average (but not elite) spin on his slider. In recent seasons, he’s favored that slider over a curveball he once used more frequently, but Alexy has a four-pitch mix that could intrigue some other clubs. He also has a minor league option year remaining, so any team that picks him up will be able to send him to Triple-A without needing to pass him through waivers.
Washington will have a week to trade him or else attempt to pass him through waivers themselves, a month after the Rangers were unsuccessful in doing so. The Nats pounced on Alexy with the top position in waiver priority, so there’s a decent chance another club will want to take a look.