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Hairston signed by Nats

Jan 19, 2011, 7:36 PM EDT

The Nationals have signed infielder Jerry Hairston to a one-year, $2 million contract, giving the club a veteran who can take over at second base if rookie Danny Espinosa isn’t deemed ready for full-time duty as well as a versatile utilityman who can play all over the field if needed.

Hairston, who spent last season with the Padres, can earn an additional $1 million in incentives. He has primarily played second base in his career but in recent years has refashioned himself as a utilityman who can also play shortstop, third base and the outfield.

With the recent additions of Hairston, reliever Todd Coffey, first baseman Adam LaRoche and left-hander Tom Gorzelanny, the Nationals’ 40-man roster is over capacity. The club will need to remove four players to clear space for all the additions.

UPDATE AT 4:45 P.M. — We now know one of the roster casualties: J.D. Martin was given his unconditional release today, a move that corresponds with the official processing of LaRoche’s contract at MLB headquarters. The other new players’ contracts have not been processed by MLB yet, thus the other 40-man moves haven’t been made yet.

  1. Stranded_in_Philly - Jan 19, 2011 at 7:46 PM

    Mark, any guesses on who those 4 guys will be, and any thoughts to share on who you think they should be?

  2. Anonymous - Jan 19, 2011 at 7:51 PM

    We are trading Mock, Atilano, J.D. Martin and Nyjer Morgan for Cliff Lee and Adam Dunn.

  3. Doc - Jan 19, 2011 at 8:01 PM

    Yeah, give us your educated and well-experienced opinion MarkMeister.

  4. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 19, 2011 at 8:06 PM

    Guys… C'mon…Mark's a reporter not a speculator, especially on guys he needs to maintain professional relationships. So he names 4 guys and it turns out he's wrong. Thin that would get back to the guys he named?

  5. joemktg - Jan 19, 2011 at 8:09 PM

    Want 4 names? "Throw a rock in the air, you'll hit someone guilty." Name that tune.

  6. DFL - Jan 19, 2011 at 8:12 PM

    Excellent signing. He can play second or left if Espinosa or Bernadina fails to perform and, on a short term basis, take over for Morgan if he hits .211 or knocks some kids' teeth out with his spikes.

  7. Anonymous - Jan 19, 2011 at 8:13 PM

    Man, Mr Rizzo is fun. Pieces falling into place left and right. Now, if I can win the Powerball tonight, I could afford a season ticket.Still wanna see a leadoff hitter/centerfielder or at least a team hypnotist dedicated to keeping Nyjer from acting the buffoon. Or at least approach what we had in him this time last year.Huzzah!

  8. Drew8 - Jan 19, 2011 at 8:23 PM

    I like the Hairston addition a lot. He's got pop, speed and versatility. What pleases me about this offseason is that, piece by piece, Rizzo is replacing the weak links with competence, character and athleticism.Sure, Gorezellanny, Hairston and Coffey aren't world-beaters, but they're fine major leaguers. They will be excellent complementary parts when the supernovas (Stras and Harper) arrive. And who knows, another star may rise among Cole, Solis, Norris and Ray.

  9. Anonymous - Jan 19, 2011 at 8:25 PM

    There must be a trade coming to make room…

  10. Anonymous - Jan 19, 2011 at 8:25 PM

    Maxwell's gonna be one of them, I bet. Who are Brian Broderick and Elvin Ramirez? Are they the rule 5 guys?

  11. David - Jan 19, 2011 at 8:25 PM

    I would trade Mock, Atilano, and Martin for a bag of chips at this point.

  12. Peyton Dowdy - Jan 19, 2011 at 8:29 PM

    Would the chips go on the 40 man roster David?

  13. Anonymous - Jan 19, 2011 at 8:33 PM

    Ramirez is our rule 5 pick… forget the story on Broderick…

  14. Peyton Dowdy - Jan 19, 2011 at 8:39 PM

    Broderick is also a Rule 5 pick. We took 2 this year.

  15. Peyton Dowdy - Jan 19, 2011 at 8:41 PM

    Ladson tweeted that he was informed J.D. Martin is coming off of the 40 man roster.

  16. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jan 19, 2011 at 8:42 PM

    Chips would not count on the 40-man; however, pretzel sticks would. But pretzel nubs might, depending on how long they've been on the local Harris Teeter shelf. Less than three weeks signifies rookie nubs, and thus would not count. Three weeks to three months, nubs are under club control and would count as one-half roster spot. Over three months, counts as full service nubs and would have to be counted on the 40-man.I hope this clears up any confusion.My flunking four:Maxy (finally, on the 10th life).AtilanoMartinSeverinoMaxy, it's been nice watching you strike out 43 times in a 104 at-bat season. Maybe you can be the Nats' seventh TV color commentator in six years after Canseco takes care of Santalangelo.

  17. Anonymous - Jan 19, 2011 at 9:03 PM

    "I was informed that RHP J.D. Martin is expected to be taken off the 40-man roster."JD Martin might get claimed …

  18. Ernie - Jan 19, 2011 at 9:08 PM

    We're taking on excess middle infielders and pitchers. I'm thinking that Desmond/Espinoza and at least one of out better relievers, maybe with a starter, are getting packaged for a trade. But I'm both stupid and ignorant, so there's that to consider too…

  19. Anonymous8 - Jan 19, 2011 at 9:12 PM

    So Alberto Gonzalez appears to have competition now with Cora for the last bench spot.Only other thought is that one of the projected starters not named Gorzelanny or Jordan Zimmermann could be traded to free up a roster spot.

  20. Peyton Dowdy - Jan 19, 2011 at 9:13 PM

    Aaaandd JD Martin is the first casualty

  21. Anonymous - Jan 19, 2011 at 9:21 PM

    AdamKilgoreWPā€ˇ The #Nats unconditionally released J.D. Martin to make room for Adam LaRoche, whose contract was approved today by MLB, Mike Rizzo said.So, now we know … JD Martin was released to make room for LaRoche. I think unconditionally means he wasn't designated so he looks to be permanently gone.Lannan can't be far behind : Rizzo's model appears to abhor soft-tossers.

  22. Anonymous8 - Jan 19, 2011 at 9:22 PM

    Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said… My flunking four:Maxy (finally, on the 10th life).AtilanoMartinSeverinoI think Maxwell has gone through 7 or 8 lives but if he survives this Final Four then he will be at 11 or 12.With getting Hairston and having Corey Brown and Eury Perez getting closer than the Nats have no reason to not cut him loose. If he isn't claimed then sign him to a Minor League contract.

  23. Anonymous - Jan 19, 2011 at 9:31 PM

    Eury Perez played low A ball last year.He's not that close.

  24. raymitten - Jan 19, 2011 at 9:36 PM

    Love this signing. Hairston is a big upgrade over Willie Harris.

  25. Doc - Jan 19, 2011 at 9:46 PM

    @ raymitten: Love this signing too–much more so than Joey Cora. However, the stats on Hairston and Wee Willie are very similar. Willie had as many HRs as Hairston, in half as many ABs. Still though, a good signing. Like the way that Rizzo is trying to fill in the spaces.

  26. Anonymous8 - Jan 19, 2011 at 9:47 PM

    Anon @4:31, I am aware of where Eury Perez played and he can be 2 years away if he excels. Bryce Harper hasn't played in the Minor Leagues and Bill Ladson thinks he can be on the Nats Opening Day roster.

  27. Alex - Jan 19, 2011 at 9:55 PM

    Do we have to keep the rule V guys a certain length of time?If not, Sunshine, I'll play:Severino stays because he's a LHPAtilano is only 25, coming off injury. More timeMaxwell next to go (for Hairston's slot?)Broderick (for Gorzelanny's slot?)Ramirez (when Coffey passes physicalThem's my uneducated guesses…

  28. Doc - Jan 19, 2011 at 9:55 PM

    I hope Eury Perez has an opportunity in ST with the Nats, and if not ST, then hoping he plays well enough in the minors to get a call-up this year!

  29. Alex - Jan 19, 2011 at 9:56 PM

    And, yea, it's nice to have a ladder of prospects behind Nyjer if he looks like 2010, not 2009, again:Bernadina or Werth (2011)Corey Brown (2012)Eury Perez (2013-14)Jackie Bradley, Jr. (Nats' 6th pick in '11 draft – CWS MVP out of S. Carolina?? A man can dream…)

  30. Alex - Jan 19, 2011 at 9:58 PM

    Does anyone know that Coffey signed a major league contract? Any chance it was a minor league deal?

  31. Anonymous8 - Jan 19, 2011 at 10:04 PM

    Alex, I agree with many that Corey Brown could be ready on June 1st of this year not 2012. He is spending his own money to work with a top trainer to be in the best shape of his career. I expect Corey to stand out as a top player in the crowded outfield in Spring Training but see him as a long-shot to make the Opening Day roster. I see him as the 1st callup if anyone falters or gets injured.

  32. Alex - Jan 19, 2011 at 10:07 PM

    @Anonymous on Martin's "unconditional release": no place for him in AAA anymore (Martis, Milone, Detwiler, Atilano, Wang, Maya…). Nice problem to have…@Anonymous8 on Brown in June 2011: Thanks. even better.

  33. JD - Jan 19, 2011 at 10:10 PM

    Can we calm down on Harper and Perez? They are not playing in the majors in 2011. If they spend any time in AA this year it will be a smashing success; more likely they both top out at high 'A' Potomac and play 2012 in AA with a highly optimistic 2012 Sept call up. Perez had an underwhelming .725 OPS at Hagerstown in 2010 and you think he can be in the majors in 2011?

  34. Anonymous - Jan 19, 2011 at 10:11 PM

    That really ought to be the only time you draw correlations between Eury Perez and Bryce Harper. (And you do youself no help by citing Ladson as well but I'll let that slide)Eury Perez, a 20 year old who has never played above low A ball is not getting a call up this year. It's not just talent and experience, he needs to develop his body, get some strength, hit the ball into the gaps for extra base hits. I'm not down on the kid, but his earliest likely call up might be a cup of coffee in September 2012, more likely summer of 2013.How does a kid that fast only get 17 doubles out of 131 base hits? He's getting a ton of infield singles and bloop singles. If that doesn't change, he'll never see the bigs. He's probably not ready to face AA pitching this year and people want him in DC this year.

  35. Anonymous - Jan 19, 2011 at 10:12 PM

    Ramirez (when Coffey passes physicalNo way that happens. The guy has heat that peaks at 100mph.Nope, more likely to see a guy coming back from injury:Wang or Mattheus at this point. I suspect Mattheus first.

  36. JD - Jan 19, 2011 at 10:16 PM

    Here is a good look at how our prospects are viewed independently:http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/top-10-prospects-the-washington-nationals/

  37. Alex - Jan 19, 2011 at 10:19 PM

    @Anonymous: Mattheus already gone.If you're right on Ramirez, or even if the Nats want to see in ST, then Stammen (27 in March) or much less likely Balester (25 in June) may be the one to go.Ramirez has to make and stay in the majors or be sent back. That means the last bullpen spot (already got Storen, Clippard, Rodriguez, Burnett (LH), Slaten (LH), and Coffey?, + 1).I'm wondering whether Coffey's contract was minor league deal for that reason.Or whether Ramirez is redundant with Rodriguez (same profile and rule V draft was before the Oakland trade).

  38. Anonymous8 - Jan 19, 2011 at 10:20 PM

    Anon @5:11, I never said Eury Perez would get a sniff of the Majors this year. I was hoping he would be in AA this season and go from there. Baseball America says 2013, but if he excels this year than 2012 could happen. A lot of "ifs".The reference to Ladson is what he wrote about Bryce Harper and was meant more for humor as he did write it.I am hoping Bryce Harper can be a June 2012 guy but still there is a lot of progress to take place.

  39. Anonymous - Jan 19, 2011 at 10:23 PM

    How does a kid that fast only get 17 doubles out of 131 base hits? He's getting a ton of infield singles and bloop singles. If that doesn't change, he'll never see the bigs. He's probably not ready to face AA pitching this year and people want him in DC this year.kind of like they said about Boomer Whiting … and there's Curran ..let's see: In 116 at bats in winter ball Perez hit .345 with 21 stolen bases. OBP .397, GPA .276.Sue Dinem's composite scouting report:Above-average speed coupled with improved basestealing skillsled to 64 steals, 41 of which came in the second half. Scouts projecthim as a plus defender with accurate-but-average arm. Particularlyadept at slashing the ball up the middle and protecting with twostrikes, and has enough power to get gappers for doubles and triples.Add: still very young could develop power as his body develops.Yes 17 doubles BUT YOU seem to have MISSED THE FIVE TRIPLES?And HE DID hit 3 home runs?I believe that adds up 25 extra base hits along with 64 steals. Alongwith 42 RBI and 88 runs.No, he won't make the team this year. Next year might seem he will probably spend the entire year in Potomac. At that point he will be 21. We'll have to see where he and Harper end up. Right now Corey Brown is ahead of both of them.

  40. Anonymous - Jan 19, 2011 at 10:45 PM

    You do realize that you are agreeing with me on most every point. He's got talent, he needs more time, he could be something, he ain't sniffing DC this year, and almost certainly next next either. You see FIVE TRIPLES AND 3 HR'S and Sue D's note about "enough power for gappers".I see a kid with a .381 slugging percentage.Call that gapper power if you want. He did hit ONE TRIPLE A MONTH!!!!

  41. Ryan - Jan 19, 2011 at 10:54 PM

    Just started a Nats based blog, NatsGM.com… I hope you stop by and check out my site. Thanks.

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