The Nationals announced today they have signed veteran outfielder Xavier Nady to a minor-league contract, a low-risk move that adds to their depth at Class AAA while keeping open the possibility of an accomplished right-handed bat joining them in the majors at some point.
Nady, 33, will not be in big league camp, and instead will spend the rest of the spring at the Nationals’ minor league camp. His contract contains no “out” clause, and he has expressed a willingness to go to Class AAA Syracuse in April.
“He’s motivated,” General Manager Mike Rizzo said. “He’s in great shape. He’ll be... trying to get into baseball shape, and we’ll take it from there.”
Nady will be joining his seventh major league organization. He spent 2011 with the Arizona Diamondbacks, hitting .248/.287/.359 with four homers and 35 RBI during a season that ended with a fractured hand in August. He missed nearly the entire 2009 season, when he was in the Yankees’ organization, after undergoing elbow surgery. His best season was in 2008, when he combined to hit .305/.357/.510 with 25 homers and 97 RBI for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Yankees.
Nady has been primarily a corner outfielder in his career, although he has made 151 starts at first base, 42 in center field and two at third base.
“He’s been an accomplished major league player in the past,” Rizzo said. “He’s a a versatile guy who can play multiple positions. He’s a terrific guy to have in the clubhouse, and a good presence, a guy who can swing the bat from the right side and play all four corner positions.”
The Nationals saw Nady workout in California last week and initiated contract talks soon after.