Astros steal promising reliever from Dodgers for next to nothing

There's no love lost between the Astros and the Dodgers.

Oklahoma City Dodgers pitcher Mark Washington (33)
Oklahoma City Dodgers pitcher Mark Washington (33) / NATHAN J. FISH/THE OKLAHOMAN / USA TODAY

The Houston Astros added another reliever to their group of non-roster invitees with the addition of Mark Washington. The former Los Angeles Dodgers hurler confirmed the news via his social media account over the weekend, saying that he, "Can't wait to get started!"

Washington was a 25th-round draft choice of the Dodgers back in 2017. His collegiate career at Lehigh University didn't offer much promise, as his three years with the Mountain Hawks saw Washington record more walks (61) than strikeouts (45).

But during his six minor league seasons in the Dodgers' organization, Washington has turned himself into a dependable reliever. Last season at Triple-A Oklahoma City, Washington posted a 3.69 ERA with 43 punchouts in 30 appearances out of the bullpen.

Astros steal promising reliever, Mark Washington, from the Dodgers for next to nothing

Washington's imposing 6-foot-7 frame can certainly work in his favor. It's not very often that a pitcher who could play power forward for the Houston Rockets is on the mound for the Astros.

Washington finally made the jump to Triple-A in 2022, but last season was the right-hander's first full campaign at the top of the minor-league ladder. After struggling with free passes in 2022, Washington showed improvement with his command last season, posting an 8.5% walk rate after walking 10% of the opposition the year prior.

Washington's strikeout rate improved as well, and after surrendering five gopher balls in just over 33 innings of work at Triple-A last season, the 27-year-old only allowed six balls to leave the yard over his 46.1 innings pitched in 2023.

Washington's career is dotted with marked improvement over the past three years. Collectively, Washington owns a 2.99 ERA and 23.6% strikeout rate over the past three seasons.

The right-hander will now enter competition with other non-roster invitees like Joel Kuhnel and Tayler Scott, as he looks to secure a spot on the Astros Opening Day roster. Washington never had his contract selected by the Dodgers, meaning if he's added to the Astros 40-man roster, he has all of his minor-league options remaining.

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