The Washington Nationals agreed to terms on a minor league deal with free agent outfielder Mike Cameron Monday afternoon adding him to their mix as a fourth outfielder and a right-handed bat off the bench. Cameron will get an invitation to spring training and will make $1 million with $750,000 in performance bonuses if he makes the major league team.
If Cameron, 38, makes the Nationals out of camp, he could be used in a platoon role with Roger Bernadina and his signing makes it increasingly less likely the Nationals will push hard to acquire the bona-fide center fielder they’ve been looking for as they continue to add back-up and bench outfield options. Their main option for center field at this time appears to be Jayson Werth and a bevy of fourth outfielders like Bernadina and Cameron while keeping right field open for the expected call-up of Bryce Harper.
Cameron was said to be in serious discussions with the Cleveland Indians over the weekend for a potential minor league deal after a 2011 season in which he hit .203 with nine home runs between the Boston Red Sox and the Florida Marlins. Cameron suffered through injury in the first year of his two-year, $15.5 million deal with the Red Sox but even after returning for 2011 healthy he struggled to make an impact. A former All-Star and three time Gold Glove winner, Cameron was traded by the Red Sox to Florida on July 5 for a player to be named or cash considerations.
As the Nationals look to beef up their bench, the hope is likely that Cameron will regain some of the form he held as a younger outfielder but he’s known to be a quality teammate and his role as a leader and mentor in a clubhouse still full of relatively young players could also be vital.
The Nationals have now agreed to minor league deals with 12 players. Shortstop Andres Blanco, shortstop Seth Bynum, outfielder Brett Carroll, right-hander Jeff Fulchino, second baseman Jarrett Hoffpauir, right-hander Waldis Joaquin, shortstop Josh Johnson, catcher Carlos Maldonado, second baseman Manny Mayorson, third baseman Tim Pahuta and outfielder Jesus Valdez all join Cameron on that list.