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Frandsen excited to join Nats after hectic week

Mar 27, 2014, 11:28 AM EDT

AP AP

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.”

  1. Sonny G 10 - Mar 27, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    Being on a major league team vice a minor league team is plenty cause to be excited.

    • DaveB - Mar 27, 2014 at 11:52 AM

      Indeed … being on the Nats vice the Phoolies is much better :-)

      It looks like Amaro just tried to get too cute here, assuming that he wouldn’t risk his guaranteed 900K, and that they could get additional “roster flexibility” by stashing him at AAA … not a great way to treat your players and one more reason he is probably the worst GM in MLB.

  2. Hiram Hover - Mar 27, 2014 at 11:44 AM

    The signing of Frandsen is another sign that Zim’s ballyhooed 10-15 starts at 1B will not come this year.

    This is (another) case where I’m going to ignore what Matty says and watch what he does.

    When it’s time to rest ALR at 1B or sit him vs. lefties, my bet is we’ll be seeing Kevin F, not Ryan Z, over there more often than not.

    • NatsLady - Mar 27, 2014 at 11:46 AM

      Absolutely. But I’m taking this as a positive, namely that MW/Rizzo feel Zim is OK at 3B for at least this season.

      • Hiram Hover - Mar 27, 2014 at 11:54 AM

        Yeah, that’s the positive spin on it.

        It’s my sense–and I haven’t seen that many games–that Zim looked solid over at 3B in the first couple of weeks of ST, but less so in the last 10 days or so. But maybe that’s just because the bad plays tend to stand out.

    • David Proctor - Mar 27, 2014 at 11:47 AM

      I still think Zimmerman will get some starts at 1B. But not as many as people expected.

    • Joe Seamhead - Mar 27, 2014 at 11:51 AM

      I’m still not buying into Zim playing much first this year. Never have. Maybe next year, but I see 2016 more likely, if at all.

  3. NatsLady - Mar 27, 2014 at 11:47 AM

    BTW, Mark, the termite ad is gross. Yuck!

    • Hiram Hover - Mar 27, 2014 at 12:09 PM

      +1 for every termite in the image.

  4. chaz11963 - Mar 27, 2014 at 11:48 AM

    I think this is a great move by Rizzo & Co. and can’t believe the Phillies just let Frandsen go. Here is what a Phillies blogger said: “It’s unclear why Frandsen is suddenly viewed as dispensable, considering his guaranteed salary and his experience playing all four infield positions and, to a much lesser extent, the corner outfield. Frandsen signed a guaranteed contract worth $900,000 back in December to avoid arbitration. Almost all contracts signed to avoid arbitration are non-guaranteed; rare exceptions were made by Amaro with Frandsen as well as Mayberry. That they were given guaranteed deals seemed to assure their inclusion on the 25-man roster.”

    Thank you Filthies!

    • tcostant - Mar 27, 2014 at 2:24 PM

      Ironicly he would have gotten more if it wasn’t guaranteed salary as they could have paid something like 25% to get out of it and that would have been gravy on top of the $900K he got now.

  5. laddieblahblah - Mar 27, 2014 at 11:48 AM

    I really am excited about this pickup. He is in the same mold as Harp and Werth as a “take no prisoners” kind of all-out baseball warrior. Not as talented as those other two, but I’ll bet they are the first two friends he makes in the dugout. You can’t have enough guys like that.

    • Eric - Mar 27, 2014 at 12:01 PM

      +1

  6. thelatencn - Mar 27, 2014 at 11:49 AM

    “He can catch.” — Matt Williams

    Hadn’t heard that before. Are we back on the Ramos-for-pitch-hitter-on-his-days-off track?

    • Eric - Mar 27, 2014 at 12:00 PM

      I can’t recall if I read it here or on WaPo, but I believe William’s said he is now the “emergency catcher”. I’m not sure what that means in terms of a greater willingness to DH or PH Ramos, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Frandsen doesn’t ever start when Ramos is benched.

      It’s kind of amazing how flexible our infield is right now:
      C Ramos, Lobaton, Frandsen
      1B LaRoche, Frandsen, Zim
      2B Rendon, Espi, Frandsen
      SS Desi, Espi, Frandsen
      3B Zim, Rendon, Frandsen

      • Eric - Mar 27, 2014 at 12:00 PM

        …when Ramos is benched or DHing…

  7. NatsLady - Mar 27, 2014 at 12:24 PM

    Chris Young to the Mariners.

  8. NatsNut - Mar 27, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    Add me to the list of people (or person) who are worried about Zimmerman. Disregarding what *words* MW uses to tell us what’s wrong, the actions seem to indicate another problem. His shoulder was barking a week or two ago, he’s still air-mailing throws and they suddenly, at the last minute, get a right-handed hitter who can play first and third. Something’s wrong.

    • naterialguy - Mar 27, 2014 at 1:34 PM

      j”ust because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean someone’s not out to get you” ;-)

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