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Posted at 5:18 PM ET, 02/ 2/2011

Nationals sign Cla Meredith, Alex Cora to minor league contracts

By Washington Post editors

The Nationals have agreed to terms with right-handed reliever Cla Meredith and infielder Alex Cora on minor-league contracts that include Spring Training invitations.

From the team's news release:

Meredith is 14-14 with 44 holds, one save and a 3.62 ERA in 286 appearances during six big league seasons with Boston, San Diego and Baltimore. The 27-year-old groundball pitcher is 14-9 with 37 holds and a 3.07 ERA in 213 games against National League teams. Meredith went 5-1 with 16 holds and a 1.07 ERA in 45 games en route to a playoff appearance with San Diego in 2006.
Cora is a steady-fielding middle infielder who has appeared in four post-seasons and won a World Series title with Boston in 2007. The 13-year big league veteran is a career .244 hitter with 134 doubles, 35 home runs and 280 RBI in 1182 games with Los Angeles (NL), Cleveland, Boston, New York (NL) and Texas.
A clubhouse leader, the 35-year-old has mentored some of the game's finest young middle infielders -- including second baseman Dustin Pedroia and shortstop Jose Reyes -- over the last five seasons.

By Washington Post editors  | February 2, 2011; 5:18 PM ET
 
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Comments

Two more good pickups in my book. Cora will be great for Desmond and Espinosa provided he makes the team. Meredith has some NL upside based on those stats too.

2 weeks until P+C!

Posted by: dand187 | February 2, 2011 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Can't hurt. I actually liked Meredith with the Os. Solid bullpen guy. Could be a useful reliever. And Cora could certainly help the young middle infielders.
Not bad.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | February 2, 2011 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Hey Poopy McP didn't know you like to post on MLBTR chats?


[Comment From McPoop]
How surprised will you be when the Orioles are the AL Wild Card next season?

[Answer]
Ben Nicholson-Smith: Astounded.

Posted by: periculum | February 2, 2011 6:05 PM | Report abuse

I suppose it fits ... Cora left-handed veteran bat, Hairston right handed veteran bat. The problem is Cora, like Ankiel are zero bats. And Riggleman will probably love 'em.

Back to DoubleSwitching losses.

Posted by: periculum | February 2, 2011 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Meredith?!?!?!

Hahahahaha, even the Orioles had enough sense to jettison this joker.

Good luck with all that Natinal fans.

hahahahhaha

Posted by: P00PY_MCP00P | February 2, 2011 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Gotta love periculum attributing to me posting elsewhere. Wow, not much of a stalker are you periculum?

Here's what it really was:

Oscar:
How surprised will you be when the Orioles are the AL Wild Card next season?

Ben Nicholson-Smith:
Astounded.


Hahahahahahahaa. Talk about a total fail job.

Of course failing is all to synonymous with Natinals and their fans.

Posted by: P00PY_MCP00P | February 2, 2011 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Getting ready for the big trade with Tampa Bay. The Nats have young, up-and-coming relievers. The Rays need them. They already signed one of the Nats closers in Joel Peralta. And right now he might be their designated closer. Perhaps TB likes the Nats bullpen choices? And they still have a young starter and top prospect relegated to the bullpen because there is no room in the rotation. And yet another down in the minors that is very close.

It may be drinking some Kool-Aid but ...
C'mon Jimmy Sheilds or Jeff Nieman. That would pretty much give the Nats a real rotation for 2011.

Posted by: periculum | February 2, 2011 6:20 PM | Report abuse

"Here's what it really was:
Oscar:"

You just seem like an "Oscar" to me McPoop. As in the Odd Couple. Wonder what its like for your wife ... not to mention your kids ...

Hahahahahahahahahaha.

Posted by: periculum | February 2, 2011 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Easy Peric,

That's below the belt. It's not nice to make fun of Poppy wife. She hasn't been the same since the puncture.

Posted by: soundbloke | February 2, 2011 7:05 PM | Report abuse

At least part of this is new news - The Meredith signing. The Cora signing was made public back on 1/17/11.

And if Cora even gets close to sniffing the 40-man roster (let alone the 25-man), there will need to have been a horrific occurance in Viera, wiping out 3/4 of the Nationals' infield. He's pushing 36, has no bat, little range, and a crappy arm to boot. IMO, he's in camp to keep AGonz quiet about playing time ("See that guy out there - He's got a WS ring; You don't. Now, go run sprints").

Posted by: BinM | February 2, 2011 7:11 PM | Report abuse

"And if Cora even gets close to sniffing the 40-man roster (let alone the 25-man), there will need to have been a horrific occurance in Viera, wiping out 3/4 of the Nationals' infield. "

I agree. I'd rather see Lombardozzi and his switch hitting bat instead. I guess he'll be working between H'burg and Glacier Place.

Posted by: periculum | February 2, 2011 7:48 PM | Report abuse

I'd rather have Cora on the bench than Gonzo. Gonzalez is younger, but his lack of run production was epic. Cora's on the downside of his career, but he's got game. Let him start the year on the roster and make Lombardozzi push him off.

Posted by: natbiscuits | February 2, 2011 8:30 PM | Report abuse

"Cora's on the downside of his career, but he's got game. Let him start the year on the roster and make Lombardozzi push him off."

Cora and Ankiel have positively zero bats. Pronouncement made by many pundits, and not just a few. They are left-handed guys Riggleman apparently likes. That's my take on it. More doubleswitch frustration for fans.

Posted by: periculum | February 2, 2011 8:58 PM | Report abuse

@biscuits: Have to disagree with you on this one - AGonz's arm/range/age simply crushes Cora's at this point in their respective careers. Cora is a subtraction in the field, adds nothing at the plate over AGonz at this point, and would cost $300k more for the season. The only thing he has over anyone on the IF roster is post-season experience, and that helps the team how?

Sorry if I seem prickly on this, but Alex Cora = Willy Taveras(2010) to me; Another veteran that would waste a roster spot, and gives nothing to the team.

Posted by: BinM | February 2, 2011 10:12 PM | Report abuse

AG is definitely superior to AC at this point in his career but I have read several articles about what a great clubhouse guy Cora is and how he has a shot at ending up as a manager. Can't hurt to have him here, especially during spring training, and it might light a fire under Gonzales. I do agree though, if he is on the 40 (god forbid he actually makes the squad) man roster, things have not gone well for us. This is still a better situation then Guzman/Kennedy as our starter at 2nd base.

Posted by: sjm3091 | February 2, 2011 10:51 PM | Report abuse

I like having Gonzalez on the roster, knowing we have an excellent glove to replace essentially anyone in our infield. No way is Cora as good with the glove, no way is Cora better by any significant amount at the plate.
Ankiel I can deal with since he has glove and a chance to bring his bat back to life.
Stairs better not make this team, that would be a very bad indicator.

Posted by: Sunderland | February 2, 2011 11:29 PM | Report abuse

For mikecatcher and others who may be watching the Caribbean World Series on ESPN Deportes, you might find this Spanish-to-English baseball dictionary useful if, like me, you understand what happens between the lines but not what the commentators are saying:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/friv/dictionary.shtml

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 3, 2011 8:49 AM | Report abuse

>Sorry if I seem prickly on this, but Alex Cora = Willy Taveras(2010) to me; Another veteran that would waste a roster spot, and gives nothing to the team.

Posted by: BinM

Gonzalez had 4 rbi's in 200 at-bats last year. They're both pitiful.

Posted by: Brue | February 3, 2011 9:34 AM | Report abuse

>>This is still a better situation then Guzman/Kennedy as our starter at 2nd base.

Posted by: sjm3091

After Espinosa continues his alarmingly long skid from last year, you'll be pining to have one of those two guys instead Gonzalez or Cora.

Posted by: Brue | February 3, 2011 9:36 AM | Report abuse

periculum,

I am with you there is still a big trade coming. You are right in thinking the Rays are a good trade partner. What about Boston? They need a future catcher and the nats have plenty.

Posted by: hansenjo | February 3, 2011 10:06 AM | Report abuse

@Brue:
I don't get your negativity regarding Espinoza. At this point, it's equally likely that he will be a good hitter, a mediocre hitter, or a bad hitter. At his positon (and with his fielding), I'd settle for mediocre.
As for you, with apologies to Jack Bruce, Eric Clapton, and Ginger Baker, I dub thee "Strange Brue".

Posted by: bertbkatz | February 3, 2011 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Make that: At his POSITION...

Posted by: bertbkatz | February 3, 2011 10:13 AM | Report abuse

>>This is still a better situation then Guzman/Kennedy as our starter at 2nd base.

Posted by: sjm3091

After Espinosa continues his alarmingly long skid from last year, you'll be pining to have one of those two guys instead Gonzalez or Cora.


Posted by: Brue

Not disagreeing, but that's why we signed Hairston. The Cora / Gonzalez spot is the backup, Hairston is second base Plan B.

Posted by: Sunderland | February 3, 2011 10:15 AM | Report abuse

I am an infrequent poster but I will say that I have always been a fan of Maxwell. Even with hsi abysmal hiting I believe he is a better centerfielder that either Morgan or Bernadina. I know his hitting has been MIA but I really do not think he was given sufficent time to prove himself. I know he was given several chances but he was never given enough time to get comfortable. If he was given the same amount time as say Morgan we may have seen a different player.

I really think Max is going to turns some heads for the Yankees. This was mistake on our part. I know I will get a push back on this but I think the Nat's made a mistake.

Posted by: mjames0 | February 3, 2011 10:30 AM | Report abuse

mjames0, I disagree about Maxwell, he was more then given a chance here. The trouble is he 'looks' like a baseball player; his performace clearly did not back that up. He was given the RF job last year and lost it, never did anything to remotely reclaim it. I wish him well but I don't see this coming back to bite us.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | February 3, 2011 10:46 AM | Report abuse

cora's chances of making the opening day roster are minimal unless we jettison alberto gonzalez. teams always sign vets to minor league deals for spring training, especially at positions where they have little experience (like our middle IF).

put it this way, he's in camp, maybe he teaches the kids a thing or two along the way, he gets enough ABs as an audition for another team who has an open IF spot and is insurance if one of our IFs gets hurt along the way.

Posted by: DCPowerGator | February 3, 2011 10:49 AM | Report abuse

"...regarding Espinoza. At this point, it's equally likely that he will be a good hitter, a mediocre hitter, or a bad hitter."

bert, Espy hit .264 in A ball in 2009, hit .268 across AA and AAA in 2010, and hit a robust .214 in MLB last year. Not sure how this supports the notion that Espy has an equal chance to be good, mediocre or bad.
If I had to lay money on one of those three outcomes, I'd have to pick bad hitter. At least for 2011. That's what his past performance would indicate. Hoping for the best, just not expecting it.

Posted by: Sunderland | February 3, 2011 11:01 AM | Report abuse

>Not disagreeing, but that's why we signed Hairston. The Cora / Gonzalez spot is the backup, Hairston is second base Plan B.

Posted by: Sunderland

I don't think I could take a whole year of Hairston swinging for the fences. Rather watch Espinosa go 6 for 65 at a pop.

Posted by: Brue | February 3, 2011 11:16 AM | Report abuse

bert, Espy hit .264 in A ball in 2009, hit .268 across AA and AAA in 2010, and hit a robust .214 in MLB last year. Not sure how this supports the notion that >>Espy has an equal chance to be good, mediocre or bad.
If I had to lay money on one of those three outcomes, I'd have to pick bad hitter. At least for 2011. That's what his past performance would indicate. Hoping for the best, just not expecting it.

Posted by: Sunderland

They seriously need to look at making him strictly a right-handed hitter. That's his only chance, imo. That mechanical swing he's got from the left just has too many holes. Seems like it's not smooth either, like he's got a hitch in it. It's like he brings his hands down, then through the zone as opposed to sweeping the bat through on the same plane.

Posted by: Brue | February 3, 2011 11:23 AM | Report abuse

>>As for you, with apologies to Jack Bruce, Eric Clapton, and Ginger Baker, I dub thee "Strange Brue".

Posted by: bertbkatz

Been called a lot worse. That's a good sign btw. I understand people looking for silver linings, but I don't even think this offense will even be as productive as last year. They're setting themselves up for several crises - Morgan's a disaster, Bernadina is about to hit his way out of the league, and Ankiel can't even be considered to bat against lefties. Espinosa, like has been mentioned, has big holes in his swing, particularly from the left side. I think Desmond's the one where you can find some optimism, but I have this nagging feeling that he's not going to get as much to hit, and you gotta remember that the second season is the year of the videotape - in other words, they've had a whole offseason to figure out how to pound a player's weaknesses. I just hope he's bright enough not to chase pitches, because I don't think the guy is very smart, which is one reason he can't get his head out and fix his error problem to any degree.

Posted by: Brue | February 3, 2011 11:51 AM | Report abuse

"Of course failing is all to synonymous with Natinals and their fans.
Posted by: P00PY_MCP00P"

And why do Ori'holes fans refer to their GM as McFail? Inquiring minds want to know Poopy.

Posted by: periculum | February 3, 2011 12:18 PM | Report abuse

I don't believe Mike Rizzo expects an awful lot of offense from second base ... he has said as much. He is willing to let Espinosa continue to work on his switch hitting in the majors and accept the lower BA and offense in exchange for his fielding and athleticism. Besides there's always old double switch ready to roll with a hook for a pinch hitter.

I don't think Bernadina or Ankiel end up in left. Ankiel has a zero bat. Morse hits right handed pitching better than left handed. He has managed to improve offensively every year in AAA and the majors for the last 3 years. Morse could put up numbers better than La Roche possibly somewhere between Willingham and Zimmerman. As for Morgan, there's Corey Brown.

But, yes for their offense to work they must have a lead off hitter. Have to assume Rizzo has a plan.

Posted by: periculum | February 3, 2011 12:25 PM | Report abuse

I think Cora is just a waste of a spot. I do like Meredith in the pen.

Posted by: JpJp | February 3, 2011 2:05 PM | Report abuse

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