Nats Sign 19 Minor League Free Agents
With baseball's winter meetings less than a week away, the Washington Nationals yesterday announced the signing of 19 minor league free agents, restocking their farm system with veterans even as team officials work on potential trades that would impact the major league roster.
General Manager Jim Bowden has been actively pursuing trades since the offseason began, and three sources who recently have been in touch with the Nationals said yesterday they sensed the club will be active in the next week. In an offseason that is likely to be marked more by trades than free agent signings, the Nationals could well make a deal before the meetings begin Monday in Nashville. Relievers Chad Cordero and Jon Rauch continue to be the names most frequently mentioned, the sources said. Bowden repeatedly has said they would be willing to move nearly any National in the right deal.
Yesterday's signings represented a step to fill out the rosters at Class AAA Columbus and Class AA Harrisburg, though each player will be invited to major league spring training. They included left-hander Mike Bacsik, who made 20 starts for the Nationals in 2007 and surrendered Barry Bonds's record-breaking 756th home run in August. Mike Hinckley, the left-hander who once was the organization's top prospect, was re-signed, as was left-handed reliever Arnie Mu¿oz, who made 13 appearances with Washington in 2007.
The list also included right-hander Steven Shell, 24, who was 7-3 with a 4.73 ERA for the Angels' Class AAA affiliate in 2007.
Other signings included right-handers Dennis Tankersley, Jim Ed Warden, Bobby Brownlie and Tristan Crawford; left-hander Jason Stanford; catchers Humberto Cota and Chad Moeller; infielders William Bergolla, Yurendell de Caster, Antonio Perez, Luis Jim¿nez and Ed Rogers; and outfielders Jason Dubois, Tommy Murphy and Jorge Padilla.
-- Barry Svrluga