11 Nationals from last season’s organization joined different teams via free agency this offseason. Here’s a look at each, along with the team they signed with and the deal they signed:
Edwin Jackson: Cubs, 4 years, $52 million
E-Jax was the highest-profile player to leave the Nationals this year, and he achieved the payday he’s been waiting on for a number of years. Since 2008, Jackson has been on seven different ballclubs (although he never suited up for the Blue Jays; he was traded twice on the same day in 2011; both trades involving former Nats. He was traded with Mark Teahen to the Blue Jays, and then later that day, was traded along with Corey Patterson to the Cardinals). Jackson turned down at least one multiyear deal last offseason to ink a one-year contract with the Nationals, and gave up on his quest for a 5-year, $60 million deal before ‘12. The simple math shows that the wait paid off, as he earned $11 million with Washington this year.
Sean Burnett: Angels, 2 years, $8 million
Sean originally came to DC in the 2009 Nyjer Morgan trade with Pittsburgh that sent Joel Hanrahan and Lastings Milledge to the Pirates. The lefty had three and a half fantastic years in DC out of the bullpen, posting a 2.81 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP in 245 innings in that time (compared to his previous career totals of 4.54 ERA and 1.506 WHIP in Pittsburgh).
Tom Gorzelanny: Brewers, 2 years, $6 million
Gorzelanny, a former starter (and, like Burnett, a former Pirate), was converted into a full-time long reliever by the Nationals in 2012, following the trade with the Cubs that brought him to DC for 3 prospects in the 2011 winter. After faltering in his 7 years as a starter, putting up a 4.57 ERA in that time, Gorzo enjoyed tremendous success as a lefty long reliever last year, attaining a 2.88 ERA in 45 appearances (one start, in the team’s second-to-last regular season game, a start in which he went 4 innings and allowed 1 run on 4 hits) with a 1.319 WHIP.
Mike Gonzalez: Brewers, 1 year, $2.25 million
Gonzalez, the veteran journeyman, is the third lefty reliever who’s also a former National and Pirate on this list. This year with the Nats, Gonzalez had his best year since 2009, posting a 3.03 ERA and 1.318 WHIP in 47 games—interestingly enough, he didn’t earn a single decision in those 47 games, finishing with a 0-0 record. He’ll join Gorzelanny in the Milwaukee bullpen.
Gonzalez was involved in the 2007 trade that brought Adam LaRoche, who the Nationals re-signed earlier this offseason, to the Pirates (a trade that sent Mike to the Braves).
John Lannan: Phillies, 1 year, $2.5 million
Lannan had 6 great years with the Nationals. An 11th round draft pick in 2005, he went on to be their opening day starter in 2009 and 2010. He was always reliable for 30-plus starts, and kept his ERA low. A victim of an overcrowded rotation, Lannan spent the majority of 2012 (a season in which he earned $5 million) with Triple-A Syracuse; he made just 6 big league starts last year, but, with the exception of a 3.2-inning, 6-run affair against the Dodgers in September, all of them were great starts. I know I’m going to miss seeing Lannan in a Nationals uniform, but with one of the strongest and deepest pitching rotations in baseball, the Nationals couldn’t afford to keep him.
Mark DeRosa: Blue Jays, 1 year, $750,000
A friend to all in the clubhouse and a fan favorite, Mark has seen his numbers decline at age 38, but he remains a valuable clubhouse presence; few 38-year-olds would be able to get a big league deal following a season in which they hit .188 in 48 games, let alone with a team like Toronto, which is a favorite to win the AL East this year.
Jesus Flores: Dodgers, minor league deal
Flores was once the catcher of the future for the Nationals. He saw that career path derailed, however, after a stress fracture 29 games into the ‘09 season cost him the rest of 2009 and all of ‘10. Flores returned as a third-string catcher in 2011, behind Pudge Rodriguez and Wilson Ramos. Since then, he’s seen limited playing time (113 games in the last two years), and despite the fans’ and organization’s fondness of him, there was just no more room left for him on the team.
Rick Ankiel: Astros, minor league deal
Ankiel was a fan favorite during his time in DC, despite only playing in 190 games over 2 years and having lackluster offensive numbers. Rick’s story is one of the more interesting baseball stories ever. A top pitching prospect when he was called up by the Cardinals in late 1999, he had a fantastic 2000 campaign that almost won him the Rookie of the Year award. The next year, however, his ERA jumped from 3.50 to 7.13, and a combination of injuries led him never to be the same pitcher again. Many have speculated that the pressure “just got to him” and caused the break down. Regardless of the reason, Ankiel spent the following 5 years recovering from the mental and physical injuries (appearing in a total of just 5 games, all in ‘04), and returned to the Cardinals’ major-league squad in ‘07, this time as an outfielder. In 47 games, he hit .285 and crushed 11 home runs, combined with the arm that made him such a highly regarded pitcher giving him a huge edge as an outfielder. His offensive output has dwindled over the years, but he makes up for it with his superior fielding. Some of my best memories of the ‘11 and ‘12 Nats are times when he gunned out runners at home from deep center field.
Xavier Nady: Royals, minor league deal
Nady, yet another former Pirate, has signed with his 10th team. He offers power off the bench, and had his best year in 2008, the year he was traded from Pittsburgh to the Yankees, when he hit .305 with 25 homers in 148 games. He joins a Royals team that has made some splashes in the trade market and free agency this offseason on the pitching front.
Cesar Izturis: Reds, minor league deal
Cesar is now joining his 9th MLB team, one of which was—you guessed it—Pittsburgh. The Nationals selected the utility infielder off of waivers from the Brewers last season in early August, and he played in just 5 games, with only 4 plate appearances (he had a single and a double). Fun fact: in 2006, he was traded from the Dodgers to the Cubs for future Hall-of-Famer Greg Maddux.
Mark Teahen: Diamondbacks, minor league deal
Teahan did not reach the big league team with the Nationals last year. If he makes the team in Arizona, Teahen will likely serve as a bench player with occasional power hitting, as he has in recent years. As mentioned above, he was part of a 2011 trade that also involved Edwin Jackson.
And here’s a quick run-down of where other players formerly in the Nationals organization have ended up through free agency this winter:
Jonny Gomes: Red Sox, 2 years, $10 million
Joel Peralta: Rays, 2 years, $6 million
Jason Marquis: Padres, 1 year, $3 million
Jerome Williams: Angels, 1 year, $2 million
Chad Durbin: Phillies, 1 year, $1.1 million
Jon Rauch: Marlins, 1 year, $1 million
Wil Nieves: Diamondbacks, 1 year, $800,000
Collin Balester-Rangers, minor league deal
Miguel Batista: Rockies, minor league deal
Brian Bixler: Mets, minor league deal
Bill Bray: Nationals, minor league deal
Marlon Byrd: Mets, minor league deal
Matt Capps: Indians, minor league deal
Endy Chavez: Royals, minor league deal
Chad Cordero: Angels, minor league deal
Armando Galarraga: Reds, minor league deal
Chad Gaudin: Giants, minor league deal
Alberto Gonzalez Cubs minor league deal
Anderson Hernandez: Pirates, minor league deal
Austin Kearns: Marlins, minor league deal
Ryan Langerhans: Blue Jays, minor league deal
J.D. Martin: Rays, minor league deal
Garrett Mock: Diamondbacks, minor league deal
Pete Orr: Phillies, minor league deal
Corey Patterson: Mets, minor league deal
Shawn Hill: Tigers, minor league deal
Nyjer Morgan: Japan