The active roster is getting tight so the Washington Nationals signed one player to a major league deal and three players to minor league deals.
2B Alex Nunez was signed to a minor league deal and he will probably start with the Potomac Nationals. He came back to play in an independent league last year after an apparent three year layoff and hit the ball very well. You never know about the quality of some of the independent leagues, but hitting .340 with 34 walks in 318 ABs should bode well for his transition to A ball. He’s still only 24, but I do not see him having an impact on the major league club.
Though announced two days ago via the AP, the Nationals officially announced this evening that they had come to terms with Felix Rodriguez on a major league deal. Disregarding his stay with the Yankees last year, Felix has had pretty good season of relief from 2000-2004 with the Giants and Phillies. His WHIP hovered in the 1.3 range and was even below 1.1 for 2001-2002. His K/9 hovers in more of the 6-7 range. As you can see in the article, his salary is staggered such that he will get paid more as he stays on the team through 2006. In the same article from Nationals.com, the team announced the signing of George Lombard and Royce Clayton to minor league deals. George Lombard comes from AAA Pawtucket and should play in New Orleans for us. Lombard had 20 HR, 23 SB, and 67 walks in 496 ABs last season for a line of .262/.357/.472/.829 (AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS). Those are decent numbers and he could help the Nationals out if and when there is an OF injury.
Royce Clayton is expected to push SS Cristian Guzman along in spring training and during the season if Clayton makes the team. Whether the team will let Guzman’s $4M salary ride the pine is doubtful after how long they let him play last year, but the team hints that Clayton will be competing for a starting role and not a backup role. In that same article, everyone’s favorite utility infielder, Jamey Carroll is conspicuously not mentioned once. With all the offseason infield additions, one has to wonder if Carroll’s non-guaranteed contract will ever have to be paid.
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