Yunesky Maya got his final shot at glory, getting a call up last week to provide long-relief cover while Ross Detwiler was on the mend. He failed, giving up a game-winning home-run and retiring just one batter in his 5/21/13 appearance in San Francisco, leading to his DFA a few days later. He cleared waivers and was outrighted to AAA on 5/27/13. The outright likely signals the end of Maya’s major league career and makes for a difficult road back to the majors for him at any point in the future.
Maya will play out the string in Syracuse (unless promotions create for a roster squeeze, then its highly likely he could be flat out released) and will be looking for work elsewhere next year, likely in the Independent or Mexican leagues. He retires with this career MLB stat line: 1-5 with a 5.80 ERA, 1.576 whip and a career ERA+ of 69. He had flashes of decency, sometimes even brilliance, in AAA over parts of several years, but even this year seems more indicative of his overall talent (in 8 AAA starts as of the time of this writing he’s just 1-4 with a 5.07 ERA)
Maya signed a 4 year/$8M international free agent contract in 2010 after defecting from Cuba. The Nats fended off several interested teams (reportedly including the Yankees) to acquire his services and Maya was supposed to be the marquee re-entry for this franchise into the international FA market after the entire Smiley Gonzalez/Dominican Republic debacle. I’ve already classified Maya’s contract as one of the worst FA deals Mike Rizzo has ever signed, and this DFA is the icing on the cake. At least it only took Rizzo 3 and a half years to own up this failure and DFA him (sarcasm).
How did the Nats miss on this signing? Reportedly, Maya was said to be throwing much harder during scouting trips than he ended up being capable of throwing once he reported to Nats camp. See this post in June 2011, which summarizes all the issues Maya had while getting his longest MLB look and has links to his Pitch F/X data. Maya never was able to throw with the same velocity that the scouts said, and his control was never good enough to make up for the difference. He’s not a big guy, so he has zero downward plane on his pitches and they have a tendency to flatten out and become rather hittable.
As I noted in my annual look at Pitcher Wins on the FA market, Maya’s single MLB victory for the Nats $8M investment now represents one of the worst average $/win contracts ever signed. Luckily for the Nats, it was just an $8M contract, not a $50M contract like other candidates for “Worst FA pitching contract ever signed.”
You hate to pile onto a guy. I eagerly watched his September 2010 debut and wrote it up in length here. The guy has 8 pitches. We were hoping for Yu Darvish and we got .. well we got some guy who couldn’t get MLB hitters out on a regular enough basis to keep his job.