Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Coffey signs, Gorzelanny in town

The Nationals have agreed to terms with Todd Coffey on a contract, a source familiar with the deal confirmed this morning, adding a veteran reliever to an already-deep bullpen.

Coffey, 30, must pass a physical before the deal is completed. Contract terms aren't immediately known.

The right-hander went 2-4 with a 4.76 ERA in 69 appearances for the Brewers last season, hampered during the second half by a thumb injury. Eligible for arbitration and in position to receive a raise from his $2.025 million salary, he was non-tendered by Milwaukee last month and became a free agent.

Coffey owns a 19-17 record, a 4.15 ERA and 11 saves in 369 career appearances over six seasons with the Brewers and Reds. A husky figure at 6-foot-4, 240 pounds, he's made a name for himself over the years for sprinting to the mound when summoned from the bullpen.

Nationals relievers posted a collective 3.35 ERA last season, the fifth-best mark in the majors. Most of the unit returns intact, including Drew Storen, Sean Burnett, Tyler Clippard, Doug Slaten and Collin Balester. Young flame-throwers Henry Rodriguez and Elvin Ramirez were added via trade and the Rule 5 draft earlier this winter.

Though it's a deep group, the bullpen still lacks an experienced closer. Team officials believe Storen (who was 5-for-7 in save situations as a rookie) will eventually ascend to that role but are reluctant to hand the job to him at this stage.

Meanwhile, Tom Gorzelanny is scheduled to arrive in Washington today to undergo a physical, the final step in completing his trade from the Cubs in exchange for minor-leaguers Michael Burgess, A.J. Morris and Graham Hicks.

Gorzelanny, projected to serve as the Nationals' No. 4 or No. 5 starter, came to terms with the Cubs yesterday on a one-year, $2.1 million contract. The Nationals will assume that contract.

General manager Mike Rizzo is expected to hold a conference call with reporters this afternoon to discuss the trade.


Anonymous said...

That makes three slots that have to open on the 40-man.

joemktg said...

Is Galarraga a candidate for trade, or are there enough Galarragas on the staff?

Theophilus said...

This just confuses the bullpen. Unless they give back Ramirez (or trade for him), trade Stammen, and do something to hide all the surplus starters, they now have far too many pitchers. Can't see Coffey as anything but Spring Training insurance (or this year's Bruney?) against other people's tendonitis. Why talk about Milwaukee's white elephant merch as your closer? My recollection is last year's Brewers needed to be seven-eight runs ahead by the sixth inning to have an even chance of ending up on the right side of the win column.

This one looks like a waste of money.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

@joemtg: Yes, absolutely, Galarraga is a candidate to come here. In fact, I hope Rizzo is pursuing him now. Weird deal: Tigers basically signed him, then DFA'd him. Now, I would think, all the Nats have to do is agree to pick up his salary. I think the guy would be great here. Out of that band box, Comerica Park, would do wonders. Out of the AL, into the softer NL wouldn't hurt either. He'd be the No. 2, 3 or 4 starter here, depending on progression of Zimm'nn, Maya, Marquis et al. I would really like to see a Galarraga deal done soon. Go for it, Mike.

Todd Boss said...

Agreed on 40-man. I touched on it here:

I don't quite see how we have been able to wait this long post the LaRoche signing (announced 1/7/11 so it has been > 10 days). But yeah three guys have to go.

Anonymous said...

While the rules may say that three roster spots should have been cleared by now, there's nothing that says the bloggers and media need to be notified when it happens. Perhaps they are waiting to notify the next of kin.

Nattydread said...

Another preliminary move before a major trade?

SonnyG10 said...

Just have to trust Rizzo knows what he's doing. Guess he has enough money he can overstock, then just keep the ones that pan out.

PDowdy83 said...

Todd, it doesn't mean we have waited that long to make the move, it just means they haven't annoucned who it was. Someone could be off the roster already and they just haven't made it public.

Also maybe Coffey is a minor league deal, nobody has disclosed the terms yet.

As far as Galrraga, he is nothing special and would create an even larger log jam in the rotation as I believe he is out of options. We already ahve 7 or 8 starters viaing for 5 spots, if Galarraga was added to that mess they would have to move somebody. Marquis is pretty much untradeable at this point. You could try and trade Lannan but is Galarraga worth keeping over him? His numbers make him look like a RHed version of Lannan.

Galarraga has a higher career ERA, FIP, BB/9, HR/9 and was worth far less WAR than Lannan over their careers, not to mention Lannan has pitched nearly 100 more innings and is younger.

Granted Galarraga did that in the AL but even if you project hsi numbers with a move to the NL he still looks like John Lannan.

natsfan1a said...

One hopes the physical reveals that he still has legs:

Anonymous said...

Coffey signing seems to make no sense. I too question whether a major trade involving some bullpen guys (maybe Clippard and/or Storen) is on the horizon.

I remember Coffey coming up with the Reds in the pre-Nat days, he started out strong but tapped out pretty quick. I'm frankly surprised he lasted in the big leagues for as long as he has. I like him, seems like a good guy, and hope he does well. But Mariano Rivera, he ain't.

Doc said...

Seems like a lot of pitchers, and too few ST innings for them to do their auditioning.

Will said...

Perhaps there is a loophole for Rule V draftees?

Because as it stands now, it looks like Broderick and Ramirez have no chance whatsoever of making the team. Broderick is a starter who has never pitched above AA, and Ramirez, a reliever, has similarly never pitched above AA (and sports a minor league ERA above 4.00).

With those two out of the picture, or potentially we'll negotiate a minor league deal with their former team, that leaves us at 41 players on the roster.

Any one of Atilano, Martin, Martis, Mock, Severino or Maxwell wouldn't be a huge loss. I just don't see any of the former 4 getting a chance with all the competition for a rotation spot, Severino won't be getting a shot in a crowded bullpen, especially if any non-40 man roster players like Wilkie leapfrog him. And Maxwell has done absolutely nothing to prove he can hit major league pitching, and Brown and Ankiel's arrival takes away his chance to get a call up in case of injuries.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Ken Rosenthall just tweeted that the Nats were close to signing Jerry Hairston, Jr.

NatsJack in Florida said...

I just get a sense that there's another trade in the works.

Ballinonabudget said...

Rosenthall says Hairston gets $2 million with another $1 million in incentives.

I hope this means Alex Cora is out of the picture, since he only signed a minor league deal.

JD said...


Comerica is NOT a band box; it's considered a pitcher's park; if the pitcher hungry Tigers DFA'd him you know he's nothing to write home about.

There is no such thing as too much pitching; there is no law that says you have to keep everyone on your major league roster or even in the organization; what you don't want is being forced to start minor leaguers in the majors like the Nats did last year.

Anonymous said...

Agree with JD. Bring in the pitchers and let them compete. Here is one thing that seems different about this year's ST already: The players better have their A game going when they show up. It is sounding like "be good or be gone." And Hairston is your insurance policy for Espinosa, yes?

Doc said...

Hope it's true about Hairston. He'd be good utility/backup insurance.

Joker said...

Perhaps Rizzo can take Gorzelanny and Coffey to Camelots for fine dining and entertainment.

Alex said...

Atilano (25) and Martis (only 23) are still young, so give 'em another year or 2.

Mock (although 27) could be a fireballer out of the bullpen in my book, if he's healthy.

Martin (just 28) is really a AAA pitcher, and Maxwell seems to be Ankiel lite.

Gonzalez may be the guy to go with Hairston signed.

4 guys gotta go, unless someone is to be traded...My guess...Maxwell, Martin, and the 2 rule V guys (is there a minimum amount of time we need to keep 'em)? Maybe Gonzalez...

But what do I know....Other bets?

NatsJack in Florida said...

fpcsteve.... Hairston is definitely the insurance policy for Espinosa and, unforunately, with Rigglemans penchant for veterans, unless mandated by Rizzo and Davey Johnson, Hairston will probably get 3 days a week no matter how Espinosa does.

Alex said...

And I wouldn't give up much for Galarraga. He's 30 already and we need to see if Maya, Detwiler, or Wang have anything left.

Don't need anymore 4s and 5s with Livo, Lannan, Marquis, Gorzelanny behind Z-mann, plus Maya, Dewiler, Wang, and Atilano in the tank.

Alex said...

Final note on the pen:

Coffey just means that Stammen and Balester are battling for the last spot, IF there are no injuries (BIG if).

Otherwise, Storen, Rodriguez, Clippard, Burnett, Slaten, Coffey, and Stammen/Balester. Nice pen....

AAA rotation could be 5 of Atilano, Milone, Martis, Detwiler, Wang, and Maya, IF no injuries.

Theophilus said...

The umpire may have done Galarraga a favor and saved him from going down in history as the worst pitcher in the modern era (at least since 1922) ever to throw a perfect game.

Alex said...

Oh yea, and Severino (26) is a lefty option out of the pen so I'm sure he's on the short list to be cut (only Slaten and Burnett on the 40-man roster are lefties out of the pen otherwise).

Alex said...

That should have read "not" sure he's on the short list to be cut from the 40-man...

rogieshan said...

GM Dambrowski has assured Galarraga he will be traded to a team that will guarantee him a starter spot. Can't see it happening here.

Theophilus said...

I think Riggleman learned his lesson (about apportioning at bats) w/ A. Kennedy. He has said as much. Espinosa will play unless he flat out can't hit, and .222 plus 15 HR plus 18 SB and good D would be satisfactory.

Hairston figures into the LF mix as well as the IF if Bernandina, Morgan and Brown bomb out. Cora is praised as a clubhouse/chemistry guy. If I were A. Gonzo I'd be looking over my shoulder a lot.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Alex.... I think someting has to happen with this bull pen. I'm not real comfortable with the thought that either Stammen or Balester can fill the Batista role as long reliever. Maybe they count on Slaten to help out there.

But it's not all bad. This doesn't even take into consideration of the up and comers in the minor league system. Somebody is bound to impress and put some pressure on these guys. And maybe one of the extra 4/5 starters gets considered for the long man.

At any rate, if we are going to have another less than stellar starting staff, overall I like the strength of the bull pen.

NatsJack in Florida said...

I see only Z-man, LaRoche, and Werth as having given spots in the everday lineup. Everyone else, including Ian Desmond, needs to be looking around at their possible replacement.

I love competition.

Alex said...

NatsJack: I hear ya, but also wouldn't rule out the possibility that Livo (36 in February) slides into the Batista role by the end of the season and beyond if Z-mann, Lannan, Gorzo, Marquis, and Maya all work out (or Detwiler or Wang).

Not to start, but by the end...looking toward the future. I see him playing that long role in 2012-13 and think he's said as much.

Give him the ball on Opening Day out of respect but...he may not be last year's guy.

PDowdy83 said...

I agree NatsJack, other than Desmond. I think he will have to really stink it up to be pulled from SS. Spring Training got A LOT more interesting this week. Rizzo might not have made a big pitching splash but there are a TON of pitchers competiting.



Thats 20 for 12 spots, not to mention Rizzo might take more flyers on minor league contracts.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you, NatsJack. I think the Nats are intentionally creating competition all over the place and will be looking for performance and character. I agree with you on SS and would add CF to that scenario. That kind of ST is a good thing. Be good or be gone.

citizen16 said...

Todd Coffey has the best entrance in MLB. Regardless of how he performs, his entrance alone will be very entertaining. If you haven't seen it already, search "Todd Coffey sprint" on YouTube and you'll see what I'm talking about. It will give us all something to look forward to when one of our struggling AAAA pitchers is getting hammered during a week night game.

Navy Nats Fan said...

Off-Topic - Jacqueline Dupree has a info-packed blog that focuses on the area around Nationals Park and the Navy Yard. It's not the cleanest-looking blog, but she dives pretty deeply into the development process for the area and does a good job covering community meetings. Check it out here - gives one hope for improving the gameday experience off the field in addition to on!

Scooter said...

I agree with a few of y'all that credible competition is good. Lest we forget, though: even better is when your regulars are so good there's really no chance some punk is gonna unseat them, and the boys can just use spring training to prepare. Like, I don't think Chase Utley's game has suffered much from not having Anderson Hernandez around to push him.

What we had before, of course, was the worst of all worlds: the regulars weren't about to be unseated, not because they were good, but because the other options were even worse! Like I said, this is a step up.

And I like jdland too.

Cwj said...

Wow, this is going to be some bullpen this year,
seriously! No proven closer, but ERA wise this might be a top 3 MLB pen.
Oh yeah, and they signed Coffey as the 8th man (injuries do happen)

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