Nats' bullpen gap closing with Floro signing

December 17th, 2023

This story was excerpted from Jessica Camerato’s Nationals Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

When the Nationals evaluated their pitching needs for 2024, they saw a gap in the bullpen. Among their offseason wish list was “good, capable Major League relievers that we could count on and not have such a split with our ‘A’ group and our ‘B’ group,” general manager Mike Rizzo said at the Winter Meetings this month.

Washington checked a box by signing veteran righty reliever  to a one-year deal on Tuesday.

“I’m going to do the same thing I've always done in the past: When my name is called on and I get that opportunity to pitch, I'm going to go out there and help the team as much as I can so we're in the win column,” Floro said in an introductory video conference call.

Floro, who will turn 33 on Dec. 27, is entering his ninth big league season. In 2023, he went 5-6 with a 4.76 ERA and seven saves in 56 2/3 innings split between the Marlins and the Twins.

"It wasn’t a good year for me, I know that,” Floro said. “I had some bad luck, people said, but at the end of the day, I’m the one pitching. I just got to figure out a way to get it done. I know coming back this year, I’m feeling good. I've done a couple changes. I've been working on some different things, executing pitches a little bit better with two strikes. There's little things that I can change to hopefully go into next year and it'll help me out."

Floro threw a pitch mix of 34.2 percent fastballs, 31.7 percent sinkers, 22.2 percent sliders and 11.9 percent changeups last season. He recorded a 54.7 ground-ball percentage, which ranked in the 90th percentile among pitchers, and his fastball velocity averaged 92.5 mph.

"My biggest strength would probably be my two-seamer,” Floro said. “I'm a big ground-ball pitcher. I'm probably not going to blow your doors off with strikeouts and everything like that, but I know my strength and my strength is usually to get early contact, weak contact and get ground balls.”

While Floro has pitched the majority of his career innings in the eighth, he has the experience to be called upon in a variety of game situations. Floro can give the Nationals another option in a late-game group that includes Kyle Finnegan, Hunter Harvey, Tanner Rainey and Jordan Weems.

“I think that Davey [Martinez] likes -- well, every manager likes -- multi-inning pitchers, multi-out pitchers, guys who can go back-to-back-to-back,” Rizzo said this month. “And that's difficult to do with young kids because we don't want to push those guys three days in a row.”

Since debuting in 2016, Floro has played for the Rays, Cubs, Reds, Dodgers, Marlins and Twins. He won a World Series with Los Angeles in ‘20. Floro is familiar with the Nationals from the opposing side, and he looks forward to joining the team as it continues to develop.

“They have young talent,” Floro said. “The more experience the young talent gets, the better the team's going to be at the end of the day. I've seen a lot of those guys the last three years, playing against them pretty much, and they've gotten better in my eyes every year. This year should be even better with more experience, and then they're adding a couple guys here and there, and I think that's going to make a difference.”