The Nationals have announced the signing of infielder Stephen Drew — an agreement that was originally reported recently by Jon Heyman. To clear a roster spot, the club designated righty Taylor Hill for assignment.
Washington will reportedly guarantee Drew $3MM in the deal, which also allows him to earn up to $1.25MM via incentives which can be maximized at 130 games played. That falls to the high side of the going rate for utility infielders. (In addition to the prior examples cited in the original post on the signing, Kelly Johnson agreed earlier today to a $2MM guarantee.)
Soon to turn 33, Drew will hope to improve his offensive production in 2016. He hit 17 home runs in only 428 trips to bat last year, but put up only a .201/.271/.381 overall batting line. While he suffered from a .201 BABIP, and did show an improved 16.6% strikeout rate, Drew has failed to match the line-drive and hard-hit rates that he carried earlier in his career.
With the glove, Drew rates as a solid shortstop and passable second baseman. Washington presumably will feel comfortable deploying him all around the infield, though he’d seem likely to spend much of his time sharing reps at shortstop with Danny Espinosa.
Hill, 26, has provided 21 MLB innings to the Nats over the past two years, allowing 14 earned runs on a 14:7 K:BB ratio. He’s spent most of his time recently working as a starter at Triple-A. After a strong 2014, he managed only a 5.23 ERA in his 118 2/3 innings at Syracuse last season.