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Nats sign veterans Heisey, Sizemore to minor-league deals

Nov 21, 2015, 12:48 PM EDT

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Updated at 1:35 p.m.

The Nationals have signed Chris Heisey and Scott Sizemore to minor-league contracts, offering the veteran outfielder and infielder opportunities to come to big-league camp next spring and compete for a spot on the Opening Day roster.

Heisey, who turns 31 next month, spent most of his 6-year career in Cincinnati, where he played for former Reds manager Dusty Baker. He signed with the Dodgers this season, though, and wound up bouncing back and forth between Los Angeles and Class AAA Oklahoma City (with a brief stop at the Blue Jays’ Class AAA affiliate in August).

Heisey appeared in only 33 major-league games this year, hitting .182 with two homers (including a grand slam), a .347 on-base percentage and .674 OPS. He got far more consistent playing time the previous five seasons in Cincinnati, hitting a combined .247 with 50 homers, a .299 on-base percentage and .721 OPS in 543 games.

A right-handed hitter, Heisey might not be an ideal fit for the Nationals, who are seeking a left-handed outfielder to back up Jayson Werth and Michael Taylor. But his ability to play all three outfield positions, his track record as a successful pinch-hitter — .936 OPS in 160 career plate appearances — and his connection to Baker (now the Nationals’ manager) could still earn him a spot on the Opening Day roster.

For the moment, Heisey likely would be competing with 39-year-old Reed Johnson (who recently re-signed on a minor-league deal after an injury-plagued 2015) for a spot on the Nationals’ bench.

Sizemore, who turns 31 in January, owns a .240 batting average, .327 on-base percentage and .710 OPS in 166 career big-league games with the Tigers, Athletics and Yankees. A third baseman and second baseman, the Virginia Beach native and former VCU star spent the 2015 season at Class AAA in both the Nationals and Marlins’ systems, hitting a combined .263 with a .369 on-base percentage in 77 games.

  1. Doc - Nov 21, 2015 at 1:39 PM

    As far as stats go, Heisey had one good season at Cinci when he was 26–not much on paper since then.

    • virginiascopist - Nov 21, 2015 at 1:55 PM

      That’s why it’s a minor league deal. See if he’s got anything left. I wonder if there are any other former Reds Dusty can convince to come over — and, no, I don’t mean Bronson Arroyo.

  2. Sonny G 10 - Nov 21, 2015 at 2:27 PM

    Well, I guess we need some fodder for spring training. Give some hope to a disabled veteran. 🙂

    • ArVAFan - Nov 21, 2015 at 4:22 PM

      Worked out really well for Chris Young!

  3. Sonny G 10 - Nov 21, 2015 at 2:30 PM

    Mark, can we have something besides the final NL East standings in the top right corner? Maybe like count down to spring training or something. I get depressed every time I see the final standing. 😦

    • letsallbaseball - Nov 21, 2015 at 2:48 PM

      Better than how the Washington Post has the picture of Papelbon choking Harper on _every_single_ Nats article. But I also vote for something less depressing!

    • ArVAFan - Nov 21, 2015 at 10:13 PM

      Mark has always put up the countdown to Pitchers and Catchers Report date–as soon as it’s announced (OK, maybe plus a day for programming. It’s not automatic). So he waits for the official date so it doesn’t have to be done, and done over. A couple of years ago he got the count wrong (due to the WBC), and I teased him about it, so now he’s probably waiting until he’s absolutely sure of the date. So blame me.

  4. chaz11963 - Nov 21, 2015 at 6:59 PM

    How is it possible to have a .182 AVG and >347 OBP ???

    • Sonny G 10 - Nov 21, 2015 at 7:25 PM

      A lot of walks, hit-by-pitch, strike-out with passed ball by catcher? I don’t know, are there other ways to get on base w/o getting a hit? Errors, maybe?

      • dryw4nats - Nov 21, 2015 at 8:19 PM

        Yeah, but that’s almost one in two times on base due to something other than a hit. That goes beyond a combination of Bryce’s walks, Danny’s and Yunel’s HBP, and H-Rod’s WPs….

      • Sonny G 10 - Nov 21, 2015 at 10:01 PM

        Maybe he didn’t have very many ABs which could distort averages.

      • davebinmd - Nov 23, 2015 at 4:14 PM

        Sonny G 10: Errors that allow a batter to reach base do NOT increase the batter’s OBP, because he should have been out, in fact they will lower his OBP for that same reason. An exception to that is: For catcher’s interference and errors on sacrifice bunt attempts the batter is not charged with an at bat so the OBP would remain unchanged.

        The OBP formula is: (Hits + Walks + Hit-By-Pitch) divided by (At Bats + Walks+ Hit-By-Pitch + Sac Flys)

    • ehay2k - Nov 21, 2015 at 9:02 PM

      He is clearly a svengali and can bend the HP ump to his will! Or he crowds the plate, or both!

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