Continuing a pattern that was once kinda funny, then a little worrisome, and now just plain freakishly weird, the Nationals today signed former Reds catcher Javier Valentin and former Diamondbacks shortstop Alex Cintron.
Valentin is an ok defensive catcher who is probably a better fit as the Nationals back-up than Wil Nieves, since at least he gives the team a platoon advantage with Jesus Flores. He's technically a switch-hitter, but given that his OPS is .240 points better from the left side you have to wonder why he ever goes up right-handed. He's also a better hitter overall than Nieves, projected by CHONE to hit .260 / .320 / .382, compared to Nieves's .251 / .297 / .350 projection. Though he's a former Red, he was actually signed in 2004 while Jim was on Cold Pizza.
Cintron is that rarest of rare creatures: a weak-hitting shortstop who's also a bad fielder. OK, so that's a little unfair. He makes a lot of contact. But he rarely walks and has no power at all at this point in his career. As a fielder, he's pla/yed SS, 2B, and 3B, but the stats hate him at all three spots. His UZR/150 numbers as a shortstop over the last years are -10.9, -17.4, and -21.9. It's also hard to imagine where he would fit in with this team. There probably isn't room on the 25-man for Alberto Gonzalez, and then you also have Freddy Bynum, Pete Orr, and Jose Castillo coming to camp, in the event that they feel like they really need a failed major league infielder handy at some point.