A Couple More Minor-League Signings

minor leagues signs 2The estimable Bill “The Rocket” Ladson has passed along news that the Nationals have signed two more minor-league free agents.

Both are of the veteran variety, likely to fill out the Syracuse roster.

Mike “Don’t Call Me George” Constanzo is a corner infielder who was originally drafted by the Phillies in the second round of the 2005 draft. He has also spent time in the Baltimore and Cincinnati organizations, making his MLB debut last May with the Reds but was an abysmal 1-for-18 in 17 games. For his career, the 29-year-old has a .258/.349/.430 line and has played 682 of his 848 minor-league games at 3B, compiling a .928 fielding percentage.

Matt Torra is a RHSP who was originally taken by Arizona (*shock!*) in the supplemental round of the ’05 draft out of UMass, where he posted a 1.14 ERA in his senior season (albeit in the A-10). Shoulder woes (*another shock!*) delayed his full-season debut until 2007, where he struggled to a 6.01 ERA albeit in the Nintendo California League. Torra split time between AA and AAA from ’08 to ’10 before the Diamondbacks released him after 15 starts in 2011. He was picked up by the Rays and finished the ’11 season and pitched all of 2012 with Durham, going 16-9 with a 3.97 ERA in 34 starts.

The 28-year-old Torra features a high-80s sinker (previously low-90s, touching 95), an 11-5 curveball and a changeup but fits the moniker of “pitching to contact” with career marks of 10.3 H/9, 1.8 BB/9 and 5.6 K/9. While he’s improved since this article was written, the conclusion is still apt.

Author: Luke Erickson

Since 2009, Luke Erickson has been chief writer, editor, and bottle-washer of NationalsProspects.com. Potomac is his home base as a season-ticket holder, but he has visited every affiliate north of Florida at least once, with multiple trips to Hagerstown and Harrisburg.

15 thoughts on “A Couple More Minor-League Signings”

  1. Torra is a kid I would like to see at least get his cup of coffee. Reading a few articles about him since Ladson’s post, I get the sense that he just wants to get to the majors for a single game to make it all worthwhile. He finished his degree and talks about the backup plan. You would think that 16-9 might have been good enough to get him a taste last September, but he had the bad fortune of playing for a contending organization. It makes you wonder why he chose the Nats, unless that was his only choice. I certainly don’t want to see any of our staff injured, but that is the only way he comes up.

    Where would he be among Syracuse RHSP in the depth chart?


    1. Off the top of my head, he’d have to be a strong candidatate for one of the five SP slots, probably #2 or #3.

      He was 12-7 in 2012 with a 4.01 ERA this past season with Durham — like you wrote, not the kind of nos. that earns a Sept. look with a playoff contender. If, however, he still calls Pittsfield home I can understand the urge to keep playing. Like a lot of the hilltowns in Far WMass, it’s been dying a slow death for a generation.

      1. Being in a AAA rotation has to be good enough. It offers a reasonable chance to get that cup of coffee, or even to get one good paycheck in Japan or even Korea now. The Korean League seems to be on the rise, given the number of American players they are signing.


    2. For most players who get to AAA especially after grinding out a career in the minors playing even one game in the bigs is the ultimate validation. Too often writers and bloggers and fans dismiss the effort sacrifice and talent required to get that far. We forget that there are only 750 jobs in MLB at any one time. It is more competitive than any other sport in the world given all the people who play worldwide.

      1. Which is why folks need to stop and consider that while we, as fans, may covet an on-the-cusp guy like Rivero or Brown… what’s probably more equitable is for Rizzo to flip him to an also-ran that needs a bench player in exchange for a minor-leaguer with options.

  2. Love your site. I’ve been reading it for a couple years now being a season ticke holder both in Syracuse as well as Auburn. If your interested, I would love to contribute to your site with blogs. I’ve been a season ticket holder for the Chiefs for five years now and Doubledays for two years. I also get down to Spring Training every year for a week and would be able to give a perspective from there.

    1. Always looking to increase my network of (unpaid) spies… I’ll contact you via the site email address shortly.

    2. As a devoted reader of this site, I would definitely love to read some first-hand accounts of what happens in Syracuse.


  3. What are the implications of the Constanza signing? Surely this mean that the Nats have no intention of keeping Rivero in Syracuse. Whether Rivero sticks in DC or departs via trade, it looks like Constanza will be the starting 3B in Syracuse. But between Zimmerman and Lombardozzi and Tracy as back up, I don’t see how Rivero gets any time…

    1. There are also bench spots for Syracuse, and a good number of the minor league free agents get released before playing a game in the org.

  4. Costanzo has ‘Bull Durham’ written all over.
    Over 3600 minor league AB’s.
    Breaks through in 2012 with 21 AB’s with the Reds.

    1. 11-5 from the batter’s point of view. Scoutspeak for a curve that doesn’t drop straight down, but rather from the armside to the outside. Lefties it’s 1-7, but they’ll still refer to it as an 11-5.

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