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Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Nationals acquire two more players late last night

ok, maybe not late last night, but I first noticed it through the 8:30 pm article on Nationals.com

Two more relief pitchers added (though one is fighting to be a starting pitcher). Both signed to non-guaranteed Minor League contracts. LHP Ray King, 32, and RHP Jason Simontacchi, 33, join the fight for a roster spot on the Nationals major-league club. King could add another left-handed pitcher to the bullpen, joining Bowie, and Simontacchi wishes to be one of the Nationals starting pitchers.

King played in 67 games for the Colorado Rockies last season, picking up a ERA of 4.43 for the season. King notes that he played in mile-high Denver, and his stats should be better in Washington DC (check out The Beltway Boys for King's road/home record).

Simontacchi last played in the majors in 2004, during which he injured his arm ("tore his right labrum").

Oddly, the St. Louis Cards city paper made note of the recent signing of Simontacchi and King with the Nationals. Ah, of course. Forgot to mention that Simontacchi was playing with the Cardinals in 2004. The paper notes that Simontacchi, though currently slated to fight for a spot in the rotation, appeared in just 13 games in 2004, in relief, before injuring himself. He tried out for the Cubs in 2006 (this past season), but didn’t make the team. Mostly because he failed the physical. Apparently, what caught the Nationals attention, according to Derrick Goold of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, is Simontacchi’s current record in the Dominican league.

This winter, he's pitched in the Dominican Republic and in his first four starts went 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA over 22 innings. That caught the Nats' attention.

The signing of King is briefly mentioned in one paragraph in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch story. Something about King being traded from the Cardinals club to the Rockies before the 2006 season started.

Right, some Baseball-Reference information: Jason William Simontacchi stands 6' 2" and is reported to weigh somewhere around 185 pounds. He is right handed both for pitching and batting. He has appeared in the majors in three seasons. He debut came in 2002 with the Cardinals (entire major league career with Cards), and went 11-5 with an ERA of 4.02 in 24 games started. In the 143.2 innings he pitched in 2002, he gave up 134 hits, 64 ER, 18 HR, and 54 walks to 72 strike-outs. He also hit 6 batters and threw 1 wild pitch. He ended up ranked ninth in the National League Rookie of the Year balloting. In 2003, Simontacchi went 9 and 5, with an ERA of 5.56. He started 16 games and entered 30 games in relief. In the 126.2 innings he pitched in 2003, he gave up 153 hits, 78 earned runs, 21 home-runs, and 41 walks to 74 strike-outs. Before injuring himself in 2004, Simontacchi appeared in 13 games, as mentioned, but more specifically in 15.2 innings of relief. He gave up 17 hits, 9 ER, 5 HR, and 7 walks to 3 strike-outs in those 15.2 innings to end up with an ERA of 5.28 for the season. He has a career .200 batting average.

Simontacchi did not play in 2005, and spent the 2006 season with an independent league team, the Bridgeport Bluefish of the Atlantic League. Simontacchi appeared in 10 games, all in relief, and ended the year with a record of 1-0 and an ERA of 0.84 (catching on as to why I noted the Nationals picked up two relief pitchers?).

Ray King stands 6' 1" and weighs a reported 230 pounds. He has had two seasons where his ERA fell below 3, and 4 more seasons where his fell below 4. In his 365 innings pitched (all in relief), King gave up 330 hits, 133 ER, 27 HR, and 156 walks to 252 strike-outs. His 8 season career ERA currently stands at 3.28. Since 2001, King has appeared in at least 67 games a season.

Other Things Noted
- None of the three Cards blogs that I had put up for the World Series mention either Ray King or Jason Simontacchi in their most recent blog posts.

- Harper outrighted, thanks for noting that information Farid. Yes, who will be the Nationals back-up catcher, now?

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