Yankees acquire Justin Maxwell from the Nationals

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Last week the Nationals designated Justin Maxwell for assignment to clear room on the 40-man roster for free agent signing Todd Coffey and today they traded the 27-year-old outfielder to the Yankees.

Maxwell once looked like a promising prospect with a good combination of power and speed, smacking 27 homers and swiping 35 bases in 2007 as a 23-year-old at Single-A, but he’s hit just .201 with 83 strikeouts in 219 career at-bats while rarely getting an opportunity to play regularly for the Nationals.

It’ll obviously be even tougher to crack the Yankees’ lineup and Maxwell may not be at full strength yet while coming back from Tommy John elbow surgery in October, but if healthy he’ll likely get a chance to win a bench job during spring training.

UPDATE: Bill Ladson of MLB.com reports that the Nationals are getting right-hander Adam Olbrychowski in return for Maxwell, which sounds about right. He was the Yankees’ fifth-round pick in 2007 and projects as a potential middle reliever down the road.