The Nationals announced they’ve outrighted three pitchers — righty Steven Fuentes and southpaws Sean Nolin and Alberto Baldonado — off the 40-man roster. Nolin, who has previously been outrighted in his career, has elected free agency. Fuentes and Baldonado didn’t have that opportunity at the moment, although they’ll both reach minor league free agency this winter as players with seven-plus years in the minors.
Washington has four players on the 60-day injured list, and three of them will need to be reinstated to the 40-man roster at the start of the offseason. Veteran southpaw Luis Avilán will hit free agency this winter anyways, but Washington will need roster space for each of Stephen Strasburg, Will Harris and Kyle McGowin over the winter. Today’s series of outrights clears the necessary room for those activations.
Fuentes was added to the 40-man last winter to keep him from being taken in the Rule 5 draft. Unfortunately, he missed most of the season on the injured list and still hasn’t appeared in a big league game. The 24-year-old struggled mightily around those injuries, posting an 11.23 ERA over 37 2/3 frames across four minor league levels. Before the disastrous year, he’d been among the better pitching prospects in a thin Washington farm system.
Nolin pitched in the bigs with the Blue Jays and A’s from 2013-15 but didn’t get to the highest level again until this past August. The 31-year-old worked 26 2/3 innings of 4.39 ERA ball for the Nats across ten appearances (five starts), albeit with a below-average 16.3% strikeout rate.
Baldonado, a longtime minor league veteran, got his first big league call in September. The 28-year-old made fourteen relief outings down the stretch, allowing ten runs in 10 2/3 innings with twelve strikeouts and seven walks. It wasn’t the debut showing he’d been hoping for, but Baldonado earned that look with a solid 3.31 ERA over 32 2/3 Triple-A frames.