With pitchers and catchers set to report next week, the Washington Nationals have made a few under-the-table moves to fill a few more spots for spring training.
The club signed right-hander J.D. Martin, left-hander Matt Chico, and first baseman Kevin Barker.
All three were invited to spring training, however, the chances of any of them making the roster are slim; barring some sort of breakout performance.
Martin and Chico have both pitched for the big league club while in the Nationals organization. Martin was released last month after pitching a combined 125 innings between 2009 and 2010 with a 4.32 ERA. However, at Triple-A he held a 3.21 ERA in 144 innings pitched, so who knows, this could be the year that Martin puts it all together. You just never can tell ahead of time; this is why they hold spring training and what makes the end of February and March exciting months for baseball fans everywhere.
Chico has also spent some time on the Nationals big league roster. He has posted a 4.95 ERA in 220 innings pitched in the bigs. He had a solid year last year in he Nationals minor league system, posting 3.62 ERA in 141 2/3 innings pitched. Chico is a former second round pick who has had to deal with arm trouble in the past, but could see some time mid-season as a long reliever should there be any injuries to the big league staff if he does make the club out of spring training.