Nov 22, 2013, 1:00 PM EDT
Age on Opening Day 2014: 28
How acquired: Trade with Athletics, Dec. 2010
MLB service time: 94 days
2013 salary+bonuses: N/A
Contract status: Arbitration-eligible in 2017, free agent in 2020
2013 Stats: 14 G, 15 PA, 12 AB, 2 R, 2 H, 2B, HR, RBI, SB, 3 BB, 4 SO, .167 BA, .833 OPS, 126 OPS+, 0.0 WAR
2013 analysis: Corey Brown spent the majority of his 2013 season at Triple-A Syracuse and missed a month early in the year due to an oblique injury. Because of the time lost, he only appeared in 107 minor league games before getting the call to Washington in early September. The outfielder couldn’t quite recreate his standout 2012 season in Triple-A, but once again had a solid campaign. In those 107 games with the Chiefs he batted .254 with 57 runs, 19 home runs, 56 RBI and 26 doubles.
Brown stayed in the minors for nearly the entire season despite there being a need at the big league level for a lefty bench bat. Even when Roger Bernandina was hitting below the Mendoza line all year, the Nats stuck with him through 85 games before cutting him loose. Even then Brown didn’t get a shot. He finally made it back to the majors as a September call-up for the third consecutive season.
2014 outlook: Brown is the lone remnant of the trade that sent Josh Willingham to the Athletics, and because Henry Rodriguez didn’t work out, one would think they’d like to see what they have in the former first round pick. But given he hasn’t been called on for an extended period of time, he may not fit in the Nationals’ future plans. Brown, after all, has never been a star in the minors, he’s just been decent.
If Brown could help the Nats it would be on their bench as a backup outfielder and left-handed bat for pinch-hit situations. He’s posted an .820 OPS or better against right-handers the last two seasons with Syracuse and hit .342 with runners in scoring position and two outs (86 PAs) in 2013. Those numbers suggest he would at least warrant an opportunity. And given the Nats’ need to significantly improve their bench, perhaps he gets a look. He’ll once again be in spring training battling for a roster spot, and with a new coaching staff, who knows who will catch their eye. Having new coaches could mean renewed opportunities for guys like Brown. Maybe a fresh start is what he needs.
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