Looking to further bolster an already depleted organizational depth behind the plate, the Washington Nationals announced this afternoon that they have signed Koyie Hill to a minor league contract. The team has assigned him to Triple-A Syracuse.
Hill has seen his fair share of Major League plate appearances, having received semi-regular playing time with the Chicago Cubs over the better part of the last three seasons. He’s never been a true offensive threat, holding a career line of just .210/.271/.294 with 8 HR and 76 RBI in just under 1,000 career plate appearances (966) since making his debut in 2003 with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Hill has had a busy 2012 season. After being non-tendered by the Cubs in December he signed a minor league contract with the St. Louis Cardinals in early January. The Cardinals released him before the end of Spring Training. He sat out until late April at which point Hill latched on with the Cincinnati Reds. He’d bat .195/.250/.341 in 44 plate appearances with the Reds’ Double-A affiliate before having his contract sold to the Chicago Cubs on May 19th but would be used sparingly, appearing in just 11 games for the Cubs.
Once the Cubs designated the 33 year old switch hitter for assignment last week, Hill became a free agent once he refused the outright assignment to Chicago’s Triple-A affiliate. He provides a degree of veteran leadership that is absent among the Nationals catching corps, meaning it won’t be a significant surprise to see him in Washington at some point should the organization feel that Jesus Flores needs a more experienced backup.