Nationals ink Clay Hensley to minor league contract

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As first reported by beat writer Bill Ladson of MLB.com, the Nationals have signed right-handed reliever Clay Hensley to a minor league contract with a formal invitation to major league spring training.

Hensley posted a 2.16 ERA and 77 strikeouts in 75 innings for the Marlins in 2010 and he won a World Series ring in 2012 with the Giants. But he spent the entire 2013 season in either Triple-A or independent ball and is highly doubtful to find a spot in the Nats’ talented bullpen for the start of the 2014 campaign.

Hensley, 34, owns a 4.00 career ERA and 1.37 career WHIP in 517 major league innings.

Giants making Brandon Belt available

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Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Giants have made first baseman Brandon Belt available in a trade and says that several teams have expressed interest in him.

Which is kind of weird, really.

Belt turns 31 early next season. He hit .253/.342/.414 with 14 homers over 112 games last year due to a knee injury and time lost to an appendectomy. He has a history of concussions and has averaged only 115 games over the last five seasons. Oh, and makes $48 million over the next three years.

Yes, he could be a very useful player if healthy, but taking on that kind of money, even a part of that money, when many very affordable first base/DH options are out there on the market makes little sense to me. Matt Adams. Justin Bour. Lucas Duda. As good as Belt? No, I don’t think so. But way cheaper and requiring less of a commitment.

But hey, rumors are rumors. Let a thousand flowers bloom.