It’s Super Bowl Sunday as this goes to virtual press, so if you’re reading this before Monday, thank you very much.
In an unsurprising move, the Nationals have signed Rick Ankiel to minor-league contract with an invite to spring training, according to multiple online reports. For the second year in a row, there will be a three-man race for the CF job, with veteran Mike Cameron joining the mix along with Roger Bernadina.
While this does not necessarily eliminate Bryce Harper from the OF mix, it does indicate that the talk of Jayson Werth playing in
RF CF could just be that: talk. As mentioned previously and repeatedly, Harper has been playing LF more than RF since being recalled from Hagerstown last summer. It’s pretty clear that Harper will not win a battle with incumbent Michael Morse unless Morse is needed at 1B because LaRoche is not fully healthy and/or ineffective.
But, as is always the case with Mike Rizzo, the only inarguable thing to infer from this is that he will make sure he has as many options as possible. My money is still on Harper being sent down Syracuse to “work on his defense,” even if he outhits the veterans.
Baseball America is reporting via its Free Agent Tracker that the Nationals have signed RHP Gaby Hernandez. The 25-year-old has been mired at AAA since 2008, pitching for Seattle, Florida, Kansas City, Chicago (A), and Arizona. As you might imagine, Hernandez has been well-regarded for his tools, and his age relative to the league, but has had trouble translating them into results.
As always, if there any other notable moves made in the next 24-48 hours, it will be updated in this space.