The Nats haven’t officially ruled Edwards out for the season. With less than six weeks remaining, it’d nevertheless be a surprise if he makes it back to an MLB mound this year. Edwards has already been out of action since June 20 on account of shoulder inflammation. He seemed on his way to a return, making three rehab appearances last week. He felt renewed discomfort following an appearance with High-A Wilmington on Saturday, leading to further testing that revealed the stress fracture.
It’s not the most consequential news for a Washington club that, while playing better of late, has no playoff aspirations. It’s a tough break for Edwards, though, as the right-hander is headed back to the open market next offseason. Missing the final few months of his platform year — if that indeed proves the case — would be an unfortunate way to hit free agency.
Edwards, 32 next month, has been an effective middle innings arm for Washington over the past two seasons. He provided 62 innings of 2.76 ERA ball a year ago. Even with middling strikeout and walk marks, that was enough to secure a $2.25MM contract for his final season of arbitration. Edwards pitched 31 2/3 innings before the injury this year, turning in a 3.69 ERA.
That respectable run prevention mark belied underlying numbers that went in the wrong direction. Edwards’ strikeout percentage fell five points to 16.9%. His walks jumped from 9.8% a season ago to 12% this year. He kept the ball on the ground at a decent 46% clip but saw his swinging strike rate dip to a career-low 9.6% rate. Between that strikeout/walk profile and the shoulder concerns, Edwards could be limited to minor league offers during the winter.