The Nationals announced that they’ve signed infielder Grant Green to a minor league contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training. The Boras Corporation client will compete for a utility job in Spring Training and could also open the year in Triple-A as a depth option for the Nats.
[Related: Updated Washington Nationals Depth Chart]
Now 29 years of age, Green was a first-round pick by the A’s back in 2009 (No. 13 overall) and rated among the game’s top 100 prospects for multiple seasons prior to his debut in the Majors. However, despite consistently strong performances at the Triple-A level, where he’s a career .313/.351/.470 hitter in nearly 2000 plate appearances, Green’s bat simply hasn’t panned out in the Majors.
Green spent the 2016 season in the Giants organization and hit well in Triple-A, as usual, prompting a promotion to the Majors in late June. He slashed .261/.300/.370 in 50 plate appearances with the Giants, but he lost his roster spot when Joe Panik was activated from the disabled list in late July. San Francisco acquired Eduardo Nunez from Minnesota shortly thereafter, further blocking the road for a return to the Majors for Green.
The bulk of Green’s experience in the Majors has come as a second baseman, though he’s also spent time in the outfield corners and at each infield corner. In the minors, Green has seen more than 2000 innings at shortstop as well as more than 1100 innings at second base and more than 500 innings at virtually every spot on the diamond other than on the mound and behind the plate.
The Nationals are set with Ryan Zimmerman at first base, Daniel Murphy at second, Trea Turner at short and Anthony Rendon at third base. Behind that quartet is the recently re-signed Stephen Drew as well as corner outfielder Chris Heisey and first baseman/outfielder Clint Robinson. It seems unlikely that Green would beat out anyone from that group, especially as a right-handed bat (which the Nationals already possess in abundance), so it seems likeliest that he’ll either open the season in the upper minors with Washington.