The Nationals are designating reliever Tyler Clippard for assignment, tweets Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post. The move frees an active roster spot for Erick Fedde, who is back from the 15-day injured list. The club also swapped out backup catchers, recalling Riley Adams from Triple-A Rochester while optioning Tres Barrera. Washington’s 40-man roster tally drops to 39.
A two-time All-Star, Clippard has been a durable and effective reliever for the bulk of his 16-year big league career. He spent an extended chunk of that run in the nation’s capital, pitching with the Nats between 2008-14 before bouncing throughout the league. The changeup specialist remained productive through 2020, but he’s had some injury woes over the past couple years. He lost a good chunk of last season with the Diamondbacks due to a capsule sprain. Clippard returned late in the year and posted a solid 3.20 ERA over 25 1/3 innings, but his peripherals weren’t especially impressive.
The 37-year-old returned to Washington on a minor league deal over the winter. He impressed with Rochester, posting a 2.23 ERA with an excellent 31.5% strikeout percentage through 40 1/3 frames. That earned him another big league call last month, but he quickly suffered a groin strain that sent him to the injured list. Clippard returned a couple weeks ago, but the Nats moved on after just four MLB appearances. He tossed five innings of four-run ball with four strikeouts and walks apiece, averaging a career-low 87.5 MPH on his fastball.
Washington will place the veteran on waivers in the next few days. If he goes unclaimed, Clippard would have the right to elect free agency and look for another opportunity elsewhere. If he lands with a new organization by September 1 — either via waiver claim or new free agent deal upon clearing waivers — he’d be eligible for postseason play this season.