The Nationals' fluid bullpen has added some organizational depth with the signing of veteran right-hander George Kontos to a Minor League deal. Kontos is expected to report to Triple-A Fresno.
Washington’s bullpen entered play Sunday with an MLB-worst 7.09 ERA. General manager Mike Rizzo told reporters Friday that while he trusts the current group of relievers to turn things around, he added that the club was open to “all sorts of alternatives.”
Kontos joins the Nationals via the Atlantic League’s Long Island Ducks, where he went 2-0 in seven appearances with a 1.00 ERA and three saves in nine innings.
The 33-year-old has spent parts of eight seasons in the Majors, including a six-year stint with the Giants (2012-17). In '18, Kontos made 28 appearances with the Indians, Pirates and Yankees, posting a 4.39 ERA across 26 2/3 innings.
On Saturday, the Nationals recalled reliever James Bourque from Double-A Harrisburg, while optioning Joe Ross to Triple-A Fresno. Ross, a one-time starter, struggled in his first extended stint as a reliever with a 9.22 ERA in 16 appearances. The Nationals intend to stretch him out in Fresno and potentially recall him down the line as a starter again.