The Nationals are in agreement on a minor league contract with right-hander Logan Verrett, per the team’s official transactions log. He’ll add some additional depth both in the rotation and the bullpen this coming season.
Verrett, 31, has spent parts of three seasons in the Majors, appearing with the Rangers, Mets and Orioles between the 2015-17 seasons. He’s totaled 150 innings at the sport’s top level, working to a 4.62 ERA with a 17.7% strikeout rate, a 9.5% walk rate and a 43.7% ground-ball rate. He also spent the 2018 season with the KBO’s NC Dinos, where he made 29 starts but struggled with a 5.28 ERA in 155 frames.
Most recently, Verrett was with the Mariners’ Triple-A affiliate in 2021, pitching 114 innings of 4.74 ERA ball while showing outstanding command (3.4% walk rate) and a below-average strikeout rate (18.6%). He’s had issues keeping the ball in the yard in the Majors (1.50 HR/9), and that was again an issue for Verrett in Tacoma last season (1.82 HR/9), but that standout walk rate was his lowest since 2012 — his first professional season after being taken by the Mets in the third round of that summer’s draft.
Verrett has appeared in parts of five Triple-A seasons and has a 4.51 ERA through 412 2/3 innings in what has typically been a very hitter-friendly setting. The Nats have plenty of need for some upper-level depth, as their current rotation is lacking in certainty. Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin give them a pair of high-priced, high-profile arms in need of a bounceback in 2022 (Strasburg health-wise, Corbin performance-wise).
Behind that duo is top prospect Josiah Gray, who was acquired in the Max Scherzer/Trea Turner blockbuster last summer. Right-hander Joe Ross is a solid option if healthy, but his 2021 season ended with a slight UCL tear in August (which did not require surgery). Swingmen Erick Fedde and Austin Voth, 2021 minor league signee Josh Rogers, 35-year-old journeyman Paolo Espino and prospect Joan Adon are among the next options up on the 40-man roster, while Jefry Rodriguez gives them another somewhat experienced non-roster invitee to camp. The Nats surely hope that 2020 first-rounder and top prospect Cade Cavalli will be ready sooner than later, but the 23-year-old struggled in six Triple-A starts late last year after breezing through Class-A Advanced and Double-A.