The 31-year-old struggled in his lone season with the Nationals. His home run rate spiked upon leaving his former home of AT&T Park, and he turned in his highest ERA since he got back to the majors in 2012. He still possesses an effective, if not exactly dominant, four-pitch arsenal, though, with his tantalizing slow curveball remaining his best offering. Washington declined his option in the offseason, but Yusmeiro Petit could still have value as a rubber-armed swing man if he manages to crack the Angels Opening Day bullpen.
Petit started Saturday's tilt against the Rockies, giving up one run on one hit while striking out four over his two innings of work. Though Petit received the start, his workload indicates he is no longer in the conversation for the Angels' fifth starter spot, limiting his role to long relief if he were to make the 25-man roster. The Angels aren't deep in their rotation or their bullpen, so the 32-year-old would be a great fit in a swingman role. The club's top three projected starters all dealt with serious injuries last season, so it isn't inconceivable to expect Petit to see some starts at some point this year.
Petit signed a minor league contract with the Angels on Wednesday that includes an invitation to spring training. Petit took a step back in his age-31 season, with his HR/9 shooting up to 1.74 and his swinging-strike rate falling below nine percent, which led the Nats to decline his $3 million option for 2017. The right-hander had a 2.78 FIP as recently as 2014 and he has maintained low walk rates, so it's certainly possible he could earn a spot with the Angels, if not out of spring training then at some point during the season.
The Nationals declined to pick up Petit's $3 million option for 2017, making him a free agent, The Washington Post reports. He wasn't sharp in his only season with Washington, posting a 4.50 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and 49:15 K:BB in 62 innings as a swing man. Petit will get a $500,000 buyout for his trouble, and his prior success with the Giants should get the 31-year-old righty a look from another club in need of bullpen depth.
Petit gave up one run on three hits over three innings pitched in a 6-2 loss against the Rockies on Tuesday. After totaling only 8.1 innings pitched since the start of July, Petit was given some room to work after starter Gio Gonzalez lasted just three innings. Petit's ERA now sits at 3.25 with a 1.18 WHIP.
Petit picked up his third win of the season Friday, tossing two scoreless innings and giving up just one hit while striking out one in a 3-2, 14-inning victory over the Reds. The veteran swingman is having another excellent season in his first year with the Nats, so far managing a career-best 2.70 ERA through 43.1 innings with a 1.08 WHIP and 32:9 K:BB. Petit isn't likely to see many starts in the second half behind a deep Washington rotation, but his role in long relief for one of the best teams in MLB still gives him some fantasy value in deep formats.