As first reported by Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, the Diamondbacks have signed infielder Kevin Frandsen to a minor league contract and assigned him to their Triple-A affiliate in Reno.
Frandsen was released by the Nationals at the end of spring training after recording just three hits over 35 at-bats in the Grapefruit League. He had designs this winter on becoming Washington’s starting second baseman, but that never seemed likely.
The 32-year-old is a .259/.313/.350 career hitter in 1,350 plate appearances at the major league level.
He’ll give Arizona organizational depth at third base while Jake Lamb nurses a foot injury.
Second baseman Dan Uggla has had a pretty good spring with the Nationals, batting .270 with two doubles, two home runs, and six RBI in 37 at-bats. He also has a .426 on-base percentage with a .486 slugging percentage. Due to his poor performance over the last few years with the Braves (and in four games with the Giants last year), he can’t be counted on as a regular player, so if he makes the Nationals’ 25-man roster, it will be as a bench player.
That’s a role Uggla admits he wouldn’t feel comfortable in, Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington reports:
“I’d have to say no,” [Uggla] said. “I’ve never done it before. It’s not where I feel like I’m at in my career. That’s not what I’m looking to do.”
The Nationals signed Uggla to a minor league deal in late December. He compiled a disastrous .442 OPS in 145 plate appearances with the Braves and 12 with the Giants last season and has been a significantly below-average defender at second base throughout most of his career.
Yunel Escobar is slated to serve as the Nationals’ everyday second baseman. They also have Danny Espinosa and Kevin Frandsen capable of filling in at the position as well.
Kevin Frandsen and the Nationals have agreed to a one-year, $1 million contract, avoiding arbitration for 2015.
MLB Trade Rumors projected Frandsen to make $1.2 million via arbitration, but instead Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports that the one-year deal is worth $1 million upfront and another $300,000 in potential incentives.
Frandsen will fill his usual utility man role at age 33 after hitting .259 with one homer and a .608 OPS in 105 games this season. His career OPS is .662.