At the end of August, the Nationals’ maneuvering put them in position to turn some spare cash and Roger Bernadina’s roster spot into a Tampa Bay Rays pitching prospect. The prospect’s identity became known today when the Nationals completed their David DeJesus trade by acquiring Class A left-handed pitcher Matthew Spann.
Spann, 22, has pitched this season as a reliever and, on the surface, possesses some unique characteristics. By his listed size, he is 6-foot-7 but weighs only 185 pounds. That kind of tall frame usually brings to mind a strikeout pitcher, especially in relief. Spann, thought, struck out only 5.3 batters per nine innings he punched up a 2.87 ERA over 59 2/3 innings.
The Rays drafted Spann in the 25th round in 2010. He spent his first three seasons as a starter and switched primarily to relief this season. In his minor league career, Spann has a 3.03 ERA and has allowed less than one home run per nine innings.
The Nationals acquired Spann after a series of moves. First, the Nationals acquired DeJesus from the Chicago Cubs for cash in a waiver wire trade, cutting Bernadina to make room for him. The Nationals immediately put him on waivers again, and the Rays claimed him. After DeJesus had spent only four days with Washington, the Nationals worked out a deal with Tampa for a player to be named later. That player today became Spann.