Washington Nationals Sign Chris Heisey To Minor League Deal


Today, the Washington Nationals invited another player to spring training and it is one that new manager Dusty Baker is familiar with. After signing Scott Sizemore yesterday, the Nats signed outfielder Chris Heisey to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com:

Last season, Heisey played in 33 games and had 72 plate appearances with the Los Angeles Dodgers as an outfielder off the bench. He had a slash line of .182/.347/.327 with two home runs and none RBI’s. The Dodgers acquired him from the Toronto Blue Jays in an August trade for a player to be named later or cash. Heisey did not play in one Major League game with Toronto.

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The Cincinnati Reds selected Heisey in the 17th round of the 2006 MLB Draft. He would make his Major League debut in 2010, but his best season in terms of power occurred in his second season. In 2011, the right-handed hitter had a .487 slugging percentage with 18 home runs and 50 RBI’s. However, he only has 26 combined home runs in the last four seasons. The Reds traded him to the Dodgers in December 2014 for pitcher Matt Magill.

As I mentioned before, Baker managed Heisey from 2010-2013 with the Reds, so this is a player that can provide some occasional power off the bench, if he were to make the Major League roster. This past season, Nats’ pinch-hitters hit a mere .168 with five home runs and 18 RBI’s. That .168 average was the lowest in the National League and the third lowest in baseball, ahead of only the Detroit Tigers and the Minnesota Twins.

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It is only November, but it will be interesting to watch the competition between Heisey and Matt den Dekker for the fourth outfield spot. Den Dekker had a slash line of .253/.315/.485 with five home runs and 12 RBI’s in 55 games. While the 28-year old provided a spark off the bench at times, it’s always good to have some competition in camp, especially with a player like Heisey that has a career .719 .OPS in six seasons.

Next: Nats Sign Sizemore To Minor League Deal

For the Nationals, this is a low-risk signing since Heisey will only be a non-roster invitee. He has experience at all three outfield positions, has played under Baker, and has shown the ability to hit the long ball. In this instance, the Nationals’ organization is hoping that Heisey can somewhat return to the form he had in 2011 or at least provide some depth off the bench.