The Nationals announced that right-hander Cory Abbott has been claimed off outright waivers from the Giants. Abbott has been optioned to Triple-A, and left-hander Sean Doolittle has been moved to the 60-day injured list to create a 40-man roster spot. Abbott is changing teams for the second time in two weeks, as San Francisco only acquired him from the Cubs (for cash considerations) on April 21 after Chicago had previously designated Abbott for assignment.
A second-round pick for the Cubs in the 2017 draft, Abbott has pitched at the Triple-A level over the last two seasons and not gotten great results, with only a 5.82 ERA over 102 innings for Triple-A Iowa. Abbott has a 29.56% strikeout rate in Triple-A ball, but he has also struggled with his control and particularly with the home run ball. The righty has allowed an ungainly 22 homers over his 102 innings in Iowa.
Still, given Abbott’s draft pedigree and his ability to miss bats, it isn’t surprising that multiple teams have now shown an interest in his services. Abbott has worked exclusively as a starter in the minors and made one start during his seven-game cup of coffee with the Cubs in 2021 — he posted a 6.75 ERA over his only 17 1/3 innings in the majors to date.
Given the lack of production from the Nationals rotation this season, D.C. might consider Abbott as either a depth option or even as a candidate to make some starts. Abbott could get a nod over Joan Adon or Aaron Sanchez, as the Nats continue to try and tread water until Stephen Strasburg and Joe Ross are back from the injured list.
Doolittle’s status is also cause for concern, as he’ll now be sidelined until at least late June. Washington placed Doolittle on the 10-day IL on April 20 with a left elbow sprain, and it was already known at the time that Doolittle would be missing more than just 10 days. The former All-Star is trying to get back on track after a couple of down seasons, and was off to a great start in 2022, tossing 5 1/3 shutout innings with only a single hit allowed over his first six appearances.