Veteran righty Maya pitched well at WBC
The Nationals have agreed to contract terms with 28-year-old Cuban pitcher Yunesky Maya, a Major League Baseball source confirmed.
The deal, first reported by Spanish-language Web site ESPNdeportes on Tuesday evening, is contingent on Maya passing a physical next week.
The right-handed pitcher defected from his homeland last September. He pitched in the United States in March of 2009 at the World Baseball Classic and was a familiar name to big-league scouts. While 22-year-old teammate Aroldis Chapman garnered most of the attention at that tournament, Maya was the veteran ace of Cuba's staff. He pitched 7 1/3 innings at the WBC and allowed just five hits and one earned run.
At 6-foot, 190 pounds, Maya is not considered a power pitcher. Washington general manager Mike Rizzo, while not confirming the deal, did tell the organization's flagship radio station, WFED-1500, on Tuesday that Maya pitches comfortably between 88 and 92 mph. He reportedly is close to major league ready and could make his Nats debut before the end of the season.
Maya would be yet another addition to a stable of pitchers waiting to return to the District. Ross Detwiler (hip), Jordan Zimmermann (elbow), Scott Olsen (shoulder) and Jason Marquis (elbow) all are making their way back from various injuries and each should pitch in Washington in August. John Lannan, the team's Opening Day starter, is still at Double-A Harrisburg after struggling the first two months of the season, but remains in the team's plans. Veteran Chien-Ming Wang has yet to make a rehab start after last year's shoulder surgery, but could also make a September start.
Maya marks the first prominent signing by the Nats' revamped international scouting department. Johnny DiPuglia, who was hired away from Boston last fall, leads that unit. DiPuglia was the Latin American coordinator for the Red Sox.
Washington is rebuilding its international scouting department after an identity scandal involving a top Dominican prospect named Smiley Gonzalez, who was four years older than his reported age and named Carlos Daniel Alvarez Lugo. That led to the resignation of then-general manager Jim Bowden on March 1, 2009.