Mar 27, 2014, 11:28 AM EDT
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Four days ago, Kevin Frandsen was in Clearwater, assuming he would be heading north with for his third consecutive season with the Phillies.
Then the veteran infielder got word the Phillies were outrighting him to the minors, removing him from their 40-man roster, prompting a series of twists that resulted in Frandsen standing on the field in Port St. Lucie this morning, wearing a makeshift No. 90 Nationals jersey and thrilled to be heading north to Washington with his new employer after a hectic week.
“Ultimately,” he said, “it went from shock on Sunday, to sick on my stomach on Monday, then Tuesday being really confident what I was about to do.”
Frandsen elected to refuse his minor-league assignment with the Phillies, forfeiting his $900,000 salary and making himself a free agent. He insists he didn’t already have a deal in place with the Nationals at that point, but he was confident somebody would offer him a big-league job.
“They made their decision, thought I was roster flexibility, and I didn’t feel that way,” he said. “I have a lot more pride in myself, I feel like.”
Sure enough, the Nationals came calling and on Wednesday signed the 31-year-old for the same $900,000 he would have earned in Philadelphia. He joined his new teammates for today’s Grapefruit League finale against the Mets and will fly to D.C. with them tonight in anticipation of opening the season as a key member of their bench.
“I feel like I did it mostly off a leap of faith,” Frandsen said. “People thought I was crazy. But at the same time, I thought I earned myself an opportunity to be in the big leagues. I know I’m a big-league player. I know I can help a big-league team out. And I feel like I’m a winning player. I want to help out and win something. Obviously, the Nationals present that opportunity, and I’m excited.”
The Nationals jumped at the opportunity to add Frandsen, liking the fact he can play multiple positions (primarily third base and first base), bats right-handed and led the majors with 14 pinch-hits last season.
“He just brings options,” manager Matt Williams said. “We talk about that all the time. He can play every position in the infield. He can catch. He can do a lot of things.”
Frandsen’s biggest reason for signing with the Nationals: An opportunity to win. Though he has played for three franchises that have enjoyed postseason success over the last decade — the Giants (2006-’09), Angels (2010) and Phillies (2012-’13) — he just narrowly missed making the playoffs with all three clubs.
“I’m really excited for this opportunity, because it’s a winner over here,” he said. “It was a winner over there, and I’m coming to a very promising team now. Ultimately, I’ve said to everyone over there: I’m jealous of all my buddies in San Francisco that have two rings now. I want my hands to be a little heavier.”
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