The Washington Nationals placed outfield prospect Steven Souza, Jr. on their 40-man roster on Friday, and allowed Dan Haren and Chad Tracy to officially become free agents.
Souza is currently playing in the Arizona Fall League with the Mesa Solar Sox, along with several of the Nationals' top prospects. The 24-year-old has displayed a wide range of tools in the team's minor league system since being drafted out of the third round of the 2007 MLB Draft.
Souza's 2013 season was shortened by injury, as he only appeared in 81 total games. But 77 of those were with the Double-A Harrisburg Senators where he hit .300 with 15 home runs, 44 RBI and 20 stolen bases. He has displayed an impressive combination of power and speed with at least 15 homers for three straight seasons and at least 20 stolen bases in four of the past six years.
Souza will report to spring training with the big league club with an outside chance at an Opening Day roster spot. His status on the 40-man also excludes him from the Rule 5 Draft on December 12.
Haren and Tracy now become free agents after disappointing campaigns in 2013. Haren was signed to a one-year deal in free agency and had rough year going 10-14 with a 4.67 ERA. Tracy was ineffective on the Nats' bench with a .568 OPS, just one year after posting a .784 OPS as one of the team's most reliable reserves.