12/20/2010 1:34 PM ET
Nationals Agree to Terms with Seven Players on Minor League Deals
The Washington Nationals today agreed to terms with right-handed pitchers Joe Bisenius, Ryan Mattheus and Tim Wood, first baseman Michael Aubrey, infielder Brian Bixler and outfielders Jeff Frazier and Jonathan Van Every on minor-league contracts with invitations to Spring Training. Nationals Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcement.
Bisenius made five relief appearances for the Nationals in 2010, after going 4-0 with one save, a 3.05 ERA and 10.8 strikeouts per 9.0 innings (46 K/38.1 IP) in 34 appearances at three levels in Washington's system to start the season. The hard-throwing 28-year-old has fanned eight in 6.2 innings during his two big league stints with the Nationals and Phillies (2007). Bisenius is 24-20 with 12 saves and a 4.07 ERA in 234 games/16 starts over seven minor-league seasons.
Mattheus went 1-1 with a 0.79 ERA in 10 games/four starts last season with the Nationals' Gulf Coast League and New York-Penn League affiliates in his first action since undergoing Tommy John ligament-replacement surgery in July 2009. After shifting to the bullpen for the first time in 2008, he saved 17 games with Double-A Tulsa and represented the Colorado Rockies in both the '08 All-Star Futures Game and Texas League All-Star Game. The 27-year-old was acquired by Washington as part of a three-player trade that sent left-handed pitcher Joe Beimel to Colorado, July 31, 2009.
Wood, 28, went 1-1 with one save, four holds and a 4.32 ERA in 44 relief appearances spanning two seasons (2009-10) with the Florida Marlins. Over the last three seasons, he is 8-6 with one save and a 3.55 ERA in 84 games/one start in the minor leagues.
A former first-round selection (11th overall in 2003) and top-ten prospect for the Cleveland Indians, Aubrey has hit six home runs with 17 RBI in 46 big league games with the Indians (2008) and Baltimore Orioles (2009). The 28-year-old is a .283 career hitter with 78 homers and 351 RBI spanning eight minor-league seasons. Aubrey posted 25 doubles, two triples and 22 home runs with 68 RBI in 102 contests last season with Norfolk of the Triple-A International League.
Bixler, 28, batted .340 with eight extra-base hits, 19 RBI and six stolen bases in 27 games last season with Syracuse of the Triple-A International League after being acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates on August 7. A second-round selection by the Pirates in 2004, he appeared in 68 games with Pittsburgh from 2008-09.
Frazier is coming off a 25-home run, 73-RBI All-Star campaign with Toledo of the Triple-A International League in 2010. The 28-year-old also saw his first big-league action last season, playing in nine games with the Detroit Tigers. Frazier was a third-round pick by the Tigers in 2004 and has batted .276 with 77 home runs and 420 RBI in seven minor-league seasons.
Van Every, 31, batted .255 with one double, one triple, two home runs and nine RBI in 40 big league games with the Boston Red Sox from 2008-10. With 136 home runs and 82 stolen bases over parts of 10 seasons in the minor league, he has flashed both power and speed to compliment his solid defensive skills in the outfield. Once a coveted prospect in the Indians' chain, Van Every averaged 20 home runs and 64 RBI during a five-season span from 2004-08