The Nationals signed two more position players to minor league deals on Friday, both with invitations to spring training. Infielder Andres Blanco and outfielder Jason Michaels are expected to provide depth at their respective positions and possibly compete for a roster spot come March.
The 27-year-old Blanco is originally from Venezuela, he was signed as an amateur free agent by the Kansas City Royals in 2000. He has also played for the Texas Rangers and Chicaco Cubs in his six season MLB career. Blanco appeared in 36 games last season for the Rangers and hit .224 with two home runs and three RBI. He holds a .255 career average in 235 total games played.
Michaels, 35, hit .199.256.295 last season with the Houston Astros before having hand surgery in September. He played at the University of Miami before being drafted in the fourth round of the 1998 MLB Draft by the Philadelphia Phillies. His grandfather pitched for the Boston Red Sox and the Cincinnati Reds and his father played quarterback at West Virginia University. While with the Phillies, Michaels had trouble off the field after an arrest for assaulting a police officer in 2005.
The Nationals still have roster spots open with a need for bench depth. Though both Blanco and Michaels would be longshots to make the team, unless the Nats sign someone before spring training, they will likely be in the mix. Washington is expected to look at other options and, according to Bill Ladson of Nationals.com, have expressed interest in former Phillies utility man Greg Dobbs.