Another former National has found a home elsewhere. Craig Stammen, who had been with the Nationals organization since 2005, has inked a minor league deal with a big league spring training invite with the Indians. Stammen had received interest from several teams in a minor league deal since the Nationals non-tendered him in December, but the pull of playing in his home state drew the right-handed reliever to Cleveland.
Stammen — who is from North Star, Ohio, about three and a half hours from Cleveland — is returning after missing much of the 2015 season with flexor tendon surgery on his right wrist. The Nationals were wary of Stammen’s return from injury and didn’t want to guarantee above the minimum required by arbitration.
Stammen receives a March 25th opt-out in his deal with the Indians, according to a person familiar with the deal. If he makes the team, he gets a $1 million base salary with up to $2 million in performance bonuses, mostly based on appearances.
Other than his injury in 2015, Stammen was a workhorse for the Nationals from 2012 to 2014. The converted starter averaged 81 innings per season and posted a 2.93 ERA in that span, serving as as versatile long reliever. He has a chance to bounce back with Cleveland alongside former Nationals relievers Ross Detwiler and Tom Gorzelanny, both of whom signed minor league deals with the Indians this winter, too.
Of the Nationals’ free agents this winter, (surprisingly) Ian Desmond, Matt Thornton, Nate McLouth and Casey Janssen remain unsigned.