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Nats sign reliever Rafael Martin from Mexico

Providing a sign of their reemerging presence in Latin America, the Nationals have signed Rafael Martin, a 25-year-old pitcher who is "close to the big leagues," according to team President Stan Kasten.

Martin will join Washington's accelerated development camp, which begins Friday. Although Drew Storen is viewed as Washington's closer of the future, Martin -- in a best-case scenario -- could serve as a hard-throwing set-up man.

Martin has a fastball in the 92-94 mph range, which he demonstrated as a member of Mexico's Caribbean Series team, where he pitched 2 1/3 innings, allowing no runs and striking out four. Martin, a 6-foot-1 right-hander, most recently pitched for Saraperos de Saltillo of the Mexican League. There he pitched 54 games, finishing 6-3 with a 4.12 ERA. He will likely begin the minor league season with either Class AA Harrisburg or Class AAA Syracuse.

By Chico Harlan  |  February 25, 2010; 6:22 PM ET
 
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Comments

Cool.

Posted by: natbiscuits | February 25, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Just because some washed up, steroid-using catcher sees similarities between Nolan Ryan and the Natinals Ben McDonald 2.0 doesn't mean there are any. Pudge was probably just talking about how they get dressed in the lockerroom.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | February 25, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Spotted him on Mark Z's Advanced Prospects Camp list. Link added from NFA to the list.

Poopy's just irritated because he roots for a team that used to be called the Cleveland Browns, the Boston Braves, the St. Louis Browns ... right Poopy?

Posted by: periculum | February 25, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

errr meant to say the Boston Redskins ... sorry Braves fans.

Posted by: periculum | February 25, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Poopy -- Browns hmmm a very apropos handle for one of their fans?

Posted by: periculum | February 25, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Andrew Brown is also on the accelerated camp roster ... any word on him and how he came to be a Natinal?

Posted by: periculum | February 25, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

A 25 year old pitcher close to being ready for the majors... where have they been hiding that guy that no one noticed him until now?

Posted by: Ghost7 | February 25, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Saltillo is considered to be in a AAA level league.

This RP was 6-3 with a 4.12 ERA. in 54 games.

In 63 Innings Martin allowed 6 home runs. 57 hits, 33 runs, 25 walks compared to 65 strike outs. 3.55 walks/9 9.25 SO/9, WHIP 1.29, G/F 1.26.

Posted by: periculum | February 25, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Interesting analysis. A "late" bloomer?

http://www.baseballdailydigest.com/2010/02/25/from-saltillo-with-heat-nats-sign-marti/

Posted by: periculum | February 25, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

The Nationals themselves have been "close to the big leagues" for the last few years, so he'll fit right in.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 25, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

"Somehow, Rizzo and Kasten are accomplishing this on a typical love-a-bargain Lerner budget of $67 million, before incentives, that would have ranked 25th among 30 teams in '09. The median GM has $81 million to play with. If Rizzo had a $75 million payroll, as he should, who knows what he'd do? But he doesn't."

-- Boz


Pretty much says it all about this past off season.

and the clincher from where I sit:

"If the Nats had pulled off their big secret shocker of the offseason -- signing Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman, whom they offered about $23 million -- they might be a near-unanimous pick for the best offseason of any team. But, just as Rizzo thought his offer would be a winner, the Reds grabbed that prize at $30 million. "

-- Boz

Posted by: periculum | February 25, 2010 9:04 PM | Report abuse

"Jose Julio Ruiz, a 25-year-old power-hitting first baseman, will likely be signed within the next few days, reports are indicating. Ruiz defected from Cuba last season and has been granted free agent status.
Ruiz is 6-foot-3, 240 pounds and reportedly has good power, but isn't slow by any stretch. In fact, he's said to move well enough to play the outfield if need be, instead of first. He played 52 games for a team in the National Series in Cuba last season, hitting .305 with an .875 OPS."

--Matt Snyder

Someone over on the NFA seems to think this is really who Kasten was referring to?

Posted by: periculum | February 25, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

16 BLOG postings today on my 3 top stop Nats sites including 7 posts here at NJ. For today at least - no contest, NJ wins. (Not that its a competition mind you - its not, but today was nice).

Posted by: natbiscuits | February 25, 2010 9:34 PM | Report abuse

"close to the big leagues"?? How does a 4.12 ERA in the Mexican League translate?

Posted by: fischy | February 25, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Jose Julio Ruiz ... I was kinda wondering about that myself, just because I figured most of the regular places would have been picked over by now, but there's always one more in there somewhere, I suppose, if you know where to look.
********
Someone over on the NFA seems to think this is really who Kasten was referring to?

Posted by: periculum | February 25, 2010 9:27 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 25, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Fischy, I think that would be "average de carreras limpias permitidas"

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 25, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Not sure we should have any great expectations for this guy at age 25 and performing midling in the Mexican League. And Stan's telling the world the kid is close to the majors only makes me think he aint, but that is my problem with Mr. Kasten and his propensity to spew propaganda. But if he throws hard, maybe there's some value. Who knows.

Posted by: dfh21 | February 26, 2010 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Although he played in the Mexican League last year, Martin was born in San Fernando, CA, according to the MLB Winter Leagues data from the CWS (link below). So, would that be a semi-international signing? FWIW, that link also shows him at Harrisburg.

On a related note, I watched a fair number of the games with team Mexico in this year's CWS but can't put a face to the name.

http://mlb.mlb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?pos=P&sid=l162&t=p_pbp&pid=514669

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 26, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Ya this cool. Hope it pans out!

Posted by: Cartaldo | February 26, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

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