The Nationals officially cut ties with Yunesky Maya this weekend, releasing the right-hander who general manager Mike Rizzo viewed as a top-of-the-rotation type of starter when he signed the Cuban defector to a four-year, $6 million deal in 2010.
Maya’s release was first reported by Baseball America’s Matt Eddy.
This move ends the Nationals’ experiment with the 32-year-old righty, a guy who the Nats trumpeted as a major international signing a little more than three years ago.
Maya had won Cuba’s equivalent of the Cy Young award in his final season before defecting, but was unable to match anywhere near that level of success in the States.
He made his major league debut in 2010, posting a 5.88 ERA over five starts, then put up a 5.23 ERA in 10 appearances (five starts) in 2011.
He didn’t see the majors again until 2013, when he made just a single appearance with the Nationals and allowed a walk-off home run to the Giants’ Pablo Sandoval in extra innings.
Maya will finish his Nats career with a 5.80 major league ERA. He went 24-29 with a 4.17 ERA in 79 games in the minors.
The Nationals designated Maya for assignment shortly after he served up that home run to Sandoval in May. Maya ended up clearing waivers and staying in the Nats organization to pitch the rest of the season at Triple-A Syracuse.
This time, however, the Nats are parting with Maya for good.
It will be interesting to see how much interest Maya draws as a guy who could be signed as a minor league free agent. He did post a 3.87 ERA over 146 1/3 innings at Syracuse this season, striking out 99 and walking 31. His strikeout-to-walk ratio was a solid 3.19-to-1 and he allowed just 0.6 home runs per nine innings.
Maya might be given a shot to join a Triple-A rotation somewhere, but it won’t be in Syracuse.