The Nationals have signed right-hander Rico Garcia to a minor league contract that runs through the 2024 season, The Washington Post’s Jesse Dougherty reports (via X). Garcia was became a free agent yesterday after being released by Washington, but he’ll now quickly rejoin the Nats.
Biceps tendinitis has kept Garcia from pitching at either the major or minor league level since July 28, and that same injury probably resulted in Garcia’s brief foray in the free agent market. Injured players can only be placed on release waivers rather than outright waivers, but it seems quite possible that there might have been a handshake deal in place for Garcia to re-sign with D.C. once the transactional red tape was cleared.
The two-year nature of the contract also seems to hint that Garcia might need more time to recover from his injury, though details are scarce on his health status. Reports from early August indicated that Garcia was starting some rehab work at the Nationals’ spring camp, but Garcia had yet to appear in any rehab games.
The 29-year-old Garcia has appeared in four of the last five MLB seasons, suiting up for five different teams. The A’s designated Garcia for assignment in July but he rejected the outright assignment to Triple-A in favor of free agency, and he then landed with the Nationals on a minors deal. Garcia has a 9.26 ERA over 11 2/3 combined innings with Oakland and Washington this season, and a 7.32 ERA over his 35 2/3 career frames of big league work.
Tommy John surgery wiped out all of Garcia’s 2021 season, but he returned as essentially a full-time relief pitcher, and he has posted some good numbers at the Triple-A level over the last two years. His 2.93 ERA over 27 2/3 Triple-A innings this season was marred by some uncharacteristic control problems, but Garcia posted a 29.51% strikeout rate.