Nationals announce 2018 non-roster invitees

The Washington Nationals have agreed to terms with the following 17 players on Minor League contracts with invitations to 2018 Major League Spring Training: right-handers Brady Dragmire, David Goforth, Edwin Jackson, Jaron Long, Roman Mendez, Chris Smith and Cesar Vargas; left-handers Tim Collins, Ismael Gullion, Bryan Harper and Tommy Milone; catchers Miguel Montero and Jhonatan Solano; infielders Reid Brignac and Chris Dominguez; and outfielders Ryan Raburn and Moises Sierra.

Additionally, the Nationals have extended invitations to Major League Spring Training to the following four Minor League players: right-hander Jimmy Cordero; catchers Tyler Gushue and Spencer Kieboom; and infielder Osvaldo Abreu.

Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcements.

Collins, 28, re-signed with the Nationals for his second season after originally signing as a non-roster invitee in 2017. He returned to the mound in 2017 after missing the previous two seasons after undergoing two “Tommy John” surgeries (March 2015 and March 2016). He joined the GCL Nationals in mid-July and appeared in 18 games between the GCL Nationals, Single-A Potomac Nationals and Double-A Harrisburg Senators (1-2, 8.83 ERA).

Cordero, 26, enters his second season in Washington’s system after being acquired by the Nationals from Philadelphia in exchange for a player to be named, Nov. 23, 2016. He appeared in 41 games for Double-A Harrisburg in 2017, going 2-6 with a 6.84 ERA in 41 games. He had a strong showing in the Arizona Fall League following the season, posting a 1.50 ERA (2 ER/12.0 IP) in nine games. He struck out 13 batters while issuing only two walks.

Dragmire, 24, returns to Washington’s organization after joining Double-A Harrisburg during the 2017 season. This will mark his third Major League Spring Training. Primarily a reliever throughout his professional career, Dragmire made six starts in 2017. He began the season with Double-A Round Rock in Texas’ system before joining Double-A Harrisburg on June 19. While with the Senators he went 2-0 with a 3.52 ERA (9 ER/23.0 IP) in five starts and went 3-1 with two saves and a 2.74 ERA (7 ER/23.0 IP) in 13 relief appearances.

Goforth, 29, joins Washington after seven seasons in Milwaukee’s system. He spent the majority of the 2017 season with Triple-A Colorado Springs, going 3-4 with a 3.98 ERA in 48 relief appearances. Goforth made one MLB appearance with Milwaukee on April 9 vs. CHI.

Guillon, 25, joins the Nationals after eight seasons with the Cincinnati Reds organization. In five of the last seven seasons, his changeup was rated by Baseball America as the best among Reds farmhands. During his eight years with the Reds, he struck out 9.9 batters per 9.0 IP. He appeared in 40 games between Double-A Pensacola and Triple-A Louisville in 2017, going 2-6 with a 4.52 ERA in 40 games (three starts) between the two stops.

Harper, 28, will take part in his first Major League Spring Training in 2018. He returns to action after undergoing “Tommy John” surgery at the end of the 2016 season. Since 2013, he has held opposing left-handed batters to a .182 average (45-for-247) while allowing just 12 extra base hits (8 doubles, 4 home runs) along the way. Prior to his injury, he pitched to a 2.81 ERA across his previous three seasons (2014-16).

A veteran of 15 Major League seasons, Jackson re-signed with the Nationals after joining the club as a Minor League free agent on June 16, 2017. He was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse after going 2-0 with a 0.44 ERA (1 ER/20.1 IP) in five games (four starts). His contract was selected on July 18 and he started that night at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (7.0 IP 4 H, ER, 2 BB, 6 SO). The 34-year-old went 5-3 with a 2.94 ERA (16 ER/49.0 IP) in his first eight starts with the Nationals. All told, he went 5-6 with a 5.07 ERA in 13 starts for the Nationals in 2017.

Long, 26, returns to the Nationals for his third season with Washington, his first as a non-roster invitee to 2018 Spring Training. The son of Nationals hitting coach Kevin Long, he is 14-18 with a 3.45 ERA in 46 games (44 starts) since joining Washington’s system. He began the 2017 season with Double-A Harrisburg before joining Triple-A Syracuse in mid-June. He ranked fourth among qualified Nationals Minor Leaguers with a 3.61 ERA and also ranked in the system in wins (2nd, 9) and strikeouts (4th, 114).

Mendez, 27, joins Washington after spending the 2017 season with Hanshin Tigers of the Japan Central League. He appeared in eight games (four starts), posting a 6.52 ERA (7 ER/9.2 IP). He went 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA (1 ER/12.0 IP) in 10 games for Toros del Este of the Dominican Winter League. He struck out 19 batters while walking just six. From 2009-16, he split time between the Boston and Texas Minor League systems. He has struck out more than a batter per inning in 184 career Minor League appearances (9.1 SO/9.0 IP).

Milone, 30, returns to the organization that drafted him in 2008 and developed him into a Major Leaguer in 2011. He began the 2017 season with Milwaukee before joining the New York Mets on May 7. He went 1-3 with a 7.63 ERA (41 ER/48.1 IP) in 17 games (eight starts) between the two clubs.

Smith, 29, began the 2017 season with Triple-A Buffalo before enjoying three stints with the Toronto Blue Jays. He made his MLB debut on June 27 at Baltimore (1.0 IP, H) and offered scoreless relief in his first three appearances (3.1 IP, 3 H, BB). After going undrafted in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, he spent the 2011-12 seasons playing for the Erie Crushers, Traverse City Beach Bums and the Washington Wild Things in the independent Frontier League. He also spent time with the White Sands PupFish of the Mexican Pecos League and the Brisbane Bandits of the Australian Baseball League before signing with the New York Yankees in January of 2013.

Vargas, 26, joins the Nationals after spending the previous two seasons (2016-17) in San Diego’s system. He went 4-3 with a 5.50 ERA in 43 games between Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A El Paso in 2017, striking out 78 batters in 68.2 innings pitched. He relies on command and control, having issued just 3.0 walks per 9.0 IP across his nine-year professional career.

Gushue, 24, enjoyed a breakout season in 2017, his first campaign in Washington’s organization. He ranked tied for second in the Carolina League and tied for fourth among Nationals farmhands with 18 home runs. His 67 RBI were fourth-most in the Carolina League despite being promoted to Double-A Harrisburg late in the season. 2018 will mark his first career Major League Spring Training.

Kieboom, 26, enters his seventh season in Washington’s system. He began the 2017 season with Double-A Harrisburg before joining Triple-A Syracuse for the first time in mid-June. He hit .250 with 14 doubles, five homers, 25 RBI, 25 walks and 23 runs scored in 66 games between the two stops.

Montero, 34, is a World Series Champion and two-time All-Star and is considered one of the best pitch-framing catchers in Major League Baseball. He began the 2017 season hitting .286 with three doubles, four homers, eight RBI, 11 walks and 12 runs scored in 44 games during his third season with the Chicago Cubs. He was acquired by the Toronto Blue Jays on June 28 and appeared in 32 games in his first American League action.

Solano, 32, returns to Washington’s system in 2018 as a non-roster invitee to Spring Training for the third consecutive season. He appeared in 42 games with Triple-A Syracuse in 2017. His .241 batting average was his best since 2014 (.251).

Abreu, 23, enters the season rated as the No. 26 prospect in Washington’s system by MLB.com and the No. 30 prospect by Baseball America. The slick-fielding infielder appeared in more than 120 games for the third consecutive season. He hit .246 with 16 doubles, four triples, five homers, 42 RBI, 27 walks and 40 runs scored in 125 games for Double-A Harrisburg.

Brignac, 32, is a versatile utility infielder with nine seasons of Major League experience. He has appeared in Major League games at shortstop (207 G), second base (82 G), third base (39 G), left field (2 G) and right field (2 G). He appeared in 256 games with the Tampa Bay Rays while current Nationals Manager Dave Martinez served as the club’s bench coach. Brignac spent the 2017 season with Triple-A Fresno, hitting 13 home runs, his most in a season since 2007.

Dominguez, 31, joins the Nationals after spending the 2017 season with Triple-A Iowa in the Chicago Cubs system. In one season in Chicago’s chain, he hit .284 with 22 doubles, one triple, 11 homers, 45 RBI, 12 stolen bases and 58 runs scored in 102 games. His .284/.443/.766 slash line was his best since 2013. Dominguez has the ability to play third base (503 G), first base (192 G), left field (143 G), right field (57 G), and shortstop (33 G).

Raburn, 36, returns to Washington’s system after joining the organization during the 2017 season. He began the season in the Chicago White Sox’s system before being acquired via Minor League trade on May 26. His contract was selected from Triple-A Syracuse on June 5. Raburn hit .288 (15-for-52) with a double, two triples, two homers, and five RBI in 14 starts for the Nationals. He laced his fourth career walk-off hit on July 3 vs. New York Mets. His season was cut short after being placed on the disabled list on July 26 (L. Trapezius Strain).

Sierra, 29, is a veteran of 12 professional seasons, including parts of three Major League seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays (2012-14) and the Chicago White Sox (2014). In his second season in Miami’s system in 2017, he hit .294 with 22 doubles, three triples, 11 homers, 68 RBI 39 walks, 18 stolen bases and 52 runs scored in 123 games for Triple-A New Orleans. His 68 RBI and 18 stolen bases were career highs, while his 123 games played were his most since 2011 (133). He was named a MiLB.com Organization All-Star following his strong 2017 season.