Former Nats utility man Alex Cora officially signed a minor league deal with the Cardinals yesterday, reports Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Cora will compete for a utility job in Spring Training, though it is a minor league deal, so nothing is guaranteed. The Associated Press reports via ESPN that the deal will be worth $800k should Cora make the big league roster.
Last year Cora hit .226 in 172 plate appearances for Washington. His offense was less than stellar, but Cora brought other qualities to the Nats. He was a solid defensive backup/replacement for Ian Desmond and Ryan Zimmerman (especially during that injury), and brought a clubhouse presence that few players have. He was a veteran leader (35 at the time) on a young club, and helped play/guide this team of youngsters to their first 80-win season since 2005. His smile was noticeable from the center field bleachers, and he will be greatly missed.
Lifetime Cora has hit .243. A former third-round pick of the Dodgers, Cora saw his best season come in the Dodger-blue in 2002, when he hit .291 in 293 plate appearances across 115 games. He has spent time with the Dodgers, Indians, Red Sox, Mets, Nationals, and now the Cardinals.