Last night, the Nationals announced that they signed Matt Belisle to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league spring training; and now, Jonah Keri is reporting that they've also agreed to a minor league deal with Burke Badenhop.
News to report! Veteran RP Burke Badenhop signed a minor league deal with #Nationals, with invite to spring training.— Jonah Keri (@jonahkeri) February 18, 2016
In 33.2 innings with the Cardinals last season, Belisle produced a K/9 of 6.68, a BB/9 of 4.01, and a HR/9 of 0.27. Despite the high walk rate, he finished the year with a 2.67 ERA, along with a 3.64 FIP. While his home run rate is likely going to increase in 2016, Belisle has consistently been able to keep the ball in the ballpark, an impressive feat given the fact that he was a member of the Rockies from 2009-2014. If he can manage to bring his walk rate back down to his career average (2.26) this should be a fantastic pickup for Washington.
As for Badenhop, he too had a successful 2015 campaign. His strikeout numbers are less than desireable (4.88 per nine innings) but his walk rate is low (2.71 per nine innings), he doesn't allow many home runs, and his ERA and FIP were 3.93 and 3.74, respectively. Just a year ago, in 70.2 innings with the Red Sox, Badenhop finished the 2014 season with an ERA of 2.29, along with an FIP of 3.08. Given his success over the last four seasons, it's somewhat surprising that he had to settle for a minor league deal.
Neither of these moves will push the Nationals over the edge, but both could prove to be significant additions. With the increased importance of the bullpen in recent years, Washington has done well in upgrading their options for the late innings this offseason (even with losing Drew Storen). The Nationals now have considerable bullpen depth heading into 2016, and Belisle and Badenhop could prove to be valuable signings down the road.