August 14, 2022

Cameron retires, muddying Nationals center field picture

Mike Cameron, 17-year Major League veteran, announced his retirement today before ever stepping on a field as a member of the Washington Nationals. The 39-year old signed a one-year, minor league contract with the Nats earlier this off-season, but decided to hang up his spikes before Spring Training even started. Cameron was a solid big leaguer for a long time with a great blend of power, speed and natural defensive instincts in center field.

The announcement comes as surprise to the Nats, who expected Cameron to at least compete in spring training to be the right-handed hitting bench bat and defensive replacement, and potentially even platooning with Rick Ankiel in center field. Now, the picture is less than clear. [Read more…]

Nationals sign Rick Ankiel to minor league deal

According to multiple reports, the Washington Nationals signed free agent outfielder Rick Ankiel to a  minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.  Ankiel, 32, spent 2011 with the Nats, hitting .239/.296/.363 with nine home runs and 37 RBIs in 122 games.  The nine-year veteran has hit .246/.309/.423 for his career. [Read more…]

Nationals sign Mike Cameron to minor league contract

According to multiple reports, the Washington Nationals signed 17-year veteran outfielder Mike Cameron to a minor league contract Monday.  Cameron, 39 on Jan. 8, hit .230/.285/.359 with nine home runs and 27 RBIs last season in 269 plate appearances between Boston and Florida.  For his career, Cameron has hit .249/.338/.444 with 23 home runs per 162 games played.

Cameron was once a prolific base-stealer as well, with a career-high 38 in 1999, but does not run much at all anymore, as his one successful attempt last season will attest.  He is a terrific defender, having won three Gold Gloves throughout the course of his underappreciated career.

Cameron spend the second half of last season with Florida, where he hit .238/.331/.420 with six homers in 164 plate appearances before being released after an altercation with a flight attendant on a team charter.  Cameron also served a 25-game MLB suspension in 2007 for testing positive for a banned stimulant.

It’s no secret the Nats have been in the market for a center fielder this winter, especially one that could hit lead-off, but they have been unable to crack that market as of yet.  Cameron gives them a decent fall-back option to platoon with Roger Bernadina or Rick Ankiel should they not be able to upgrade at starter over the off-season. 

Alternatively, if the team feels Bryce Harper is ready to make the team out of spring training — presumably in right field, with Jayson Werth sliding over to center field — the Ankiel-Cameron outfield bench would give the Nats plenty of late-inning options, both offensively and defensively.

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