Minor League Signing: It's not the biggest free agent signing news to come out this afternoon, with the LA Angels' deal with Josh Hamilton earning that distinction, but the Washington Nationals did announce today (according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson @washingnats) that they had agreed to a minor league deal with 27-year-old, '06 9th Round pick Brian Bocock:
The veteran of 38 MLB games with the San Francisco Giants who drafted him and the Philadelphia Phillies who selected him off waivers from Toronto in 2010 19 days after the Blue Jays selected him off waivers from the Giants, has made 98 major league plate appearances in his career over which he has a .135/.245/.146 line with a double, four steals, 12 walks and 32 Ks. Over seven seasons in the Giants, Pirates, Phillies and Blue Jays' minor league systems, the right-handed hitting and throwing infielder has a combined .229/.301/.310 line with 103 doubles, 12 triples and 18 HRs in 634 games and 2,523 PAs. Bocock spent the 2012 campaign at Double and Triple-A in the Blue Jays' organization, putting up a .237/.296/.329 line in 93 games and 383 PAs.
Baseball America's Ben Badler (@BenBadler) announced this afternoon that the Nationals had also signed a 16-year-old 3B prospect out of the Dominican Republic:
The Nationals have signed Dominican 3B prospect Neivy Pilier for $225,000 bit.ly/SUaSM7— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) December 13, 2012
According to the Baseball America reporter's article on the signing, the 6'1'', 180 lb infielder, "... is from Santo Domingo, played in the Dominican Prospect League and trained with Christian Batista," who also trained Dominican-born outfielder Randy Novas, the Nationals', "... top international bonus of the year," in 2011.
As for the Hamilton signing...:
The big question for Nationals fans after Josh Hamilton reportedly signed a 5-year/$125M dollar deal with the LA Angels this afternoon is how the signing affects the Nats ability to bring free agent first baseman (and left-handed slugger) Adam LaRoche back to the nation's capital. The Rangers were believed to have been one of the teams interested in LaRoche's services though there were some conflicting reports about the Rangers' interest in LaRoche from D.C.-based writers following the announcement of Hamilton's deal this afternoon:
Source says the Rangers have not pushed hard for Adam LaRoche. Seems like they'll look at other options first after Hamilton's departure.— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) December 13, 2012
Davey Johnson told reporters on Wednesday that he thought there were positive signs recently that LaRoche would return to Washington after he put up a .271/.343/.510 line with 35 doubles and 33 HRs in a +3.8 fWAR season in 2012 in the second year of the 2-year/$16M dollar deal the first baseman signed with the Nationals in 2011. The Nationals have maintained all along that they would like to have LaRoche back while noting that they have Michael Morse under contract and other options in the organization should LaRoche sign elsewhere.