While the Orioles have made a few moves this offseason, bringing in a closer and some middle relief depth, movement continues for former Orioles players as well. After a trade deadline pickup signed in Detroit, former Orioles pitcher Spenser Watkins has a new home as well.
On Sunday, Watkins announced that he is signing a minor-league contract with the Washington Nationals, the Orioles' beltway rival just down I-95 in the nation's capital. There had been previous speculation that Watkins was going to sign with a team in the KBO, but he explained in his statement that he wants to remain in the U.S. this year with the birth of his daughter expected in January.
Former Orioles pitcher Spenser Watkins agrees to deal with Orioles beltway rival
After decent runs with the Orioles in 2021 and 2022, Watkins didn't make the opening day roster in 2023, and despite being called up a few times, didn't appear in a game. He was DFA'd and traded to the Astros, where he didn't last long on their Triple A team before the Oakland Athletics claimed him off waivers.
Watkins spent most of the remainder of 2023 with their Triple A squad in Las Vegas but did make one start with the big club in St. Louis. It didn't go well, as he allowed five runs on seven hits and two walks in just 4 1/3 innings.
Across time at Triple A Norfolk, Sugar Land, and Las Vegas, Watkins struggled to a bloated 7.86 ERA over 71 innings. In the majors, Watkins has a 5.97 ERA, 5.07 FIP, and 1.527 WHIP in 164 1/3 innings over 31 starts and nine relief appearances.
When the Nationals report to spring training in February, Watkins will get a chance to compete for a spot on the big league roster, as he'll be a non-roster invite in camp on a minor league deal. While he likely won't be anything more than a depth arm, he can be called up in a pinch when the Nationals need some innings covered. Best of luck with the Nationals, Spenser.