- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- Ukraine will compete in Sochi Paralympics despite Crimea conflict
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
- U.N. warns of Muslim ‘cleansing’ in Central African Republic
- Senate blocks change to military sex assault cases
- Drug mix may have cured child born with HIV, doctors say
- De Blasio’s wife irks former mansion chef with ‘servant’ remark
- Russia’s neighbors shiver amid Putin’s Cold War moves in Ukraine
- New SAT: The essay portion is to become optional
Nate McLouth provides outfield insurance for Nats
VIERA, FLA. — One year after its bench imploded in the midst of a disappointing season, the Nationals went out of their way to rectify that situation in the offseason.
Their first priority? A player who could handle any outfield position and reasonably contribute at the plate. Nate McLouth fit the bill. After reviving his career in Baltimore the past two seasons, McLouth signed with Washington in December as a free agent. He arrived at spring training last week ready to assume a fourth outfielder role.
“I think the important thing is keeping guys fresh because everybody likes to play every day,” McLouth said. “Everybody likes to. I think there’s a real benefit in being able to get a guy a day off every once in a while. I think the fact that I can play all three outfield positions definitely helps. So it’s something where when a guy needs a day, maybe feeling a little nicked up or tired, that’s what I’m here for.”
And that wasn’t the case very often last season when Roger Bernadina, last year’s fourth outfielder, was waived by the team in August after a miserable season. Chad Tracy, the veteran pinch hitter, saw a rapid decline, too, and wasn’t brought back.
McLouth was brought in to provide some stability. He started 125 games in the outfield for Baltimore last season and 52 the year before for the Orioles. His OPS was .729 last season.
Bernadina, by contrast, was an offensive sinkhole at .529 in 167 at bats. Then again, the year before he had a .777 OPS. Bench performances are not always predictable or repeatable. It’s why Washington felt it needed to give McLouth a two-year, $10.75 million contract.
In essence, the Nats were paying for a track record even if McLouth himself had struggles of his own in 2010 and 2011 in Atlanta and Pittsburgh that derailed his career before he found himself again in Baltimore.
McLouth says he had other options in free agency. But serious playing time was more likely to come with a non-contender. If he wanted to play for a team with realistic postseason hopes then this reserve outfielder role was more likely. Ultimately, he was fine with that.
“That’s a tough choice,” McLouth said. “But I know that I liked this situation. It was one I was real comfortable with and real excited about.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- Nationals have at least two years - and maybe more - to enjoy Ian Desmond
- Caps GM George McPhee: On trade deadlines and team chemistry
- Now a Capital, Jaroslav Halak will try to make new memories for D.C. fans
- Caps acquire goalie Jaroslav Halak from Buffalo
- Caps trade winger Martin Erat to Phoenix
Latest Blog Entries
By Tammy Bruce
- Putin has transformed Russian army into a lean, mean fighting machine
- Bill Clinton cashes in on struggling nonprofit hospital
- Unemployment insurance vote could happen next week
- DELAY: A revolution for the Constitution
- PRUDEN: Likening Putin to Hitler on Ukraine shows Hillary's shaky grasp of history
- BRUCE: Obama's bizarre immigration rules
- IRS to turn over Lerner emails in tea party targeting probe
- Russias Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
- R-S-P-E-C-T: Find out what it means for Obama
- Golden Hammer: Feds spend millions to train executives train in luxury
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again