Nationals ink OF Nate McLouth to 2-year, $10.75 million contract

Brad White

Washington has added a much-needed fourth outfielder.

The Washington Nationals added some much needed bench depth Friday, signing free-agent outfielder Nate McLouth to a two-year contract, reports Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

The deal will reportedly pay McLouth $10.75 million over the next two seasons and also includes an option for a third year, per Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. As always, finalization of the contract is pending a physical.

McLouth, 32, resurrected his career over the last year-plus with the Baltimore Orioles. The lefty-hitting, righty-throwing outfielder hit .261/.333/.409 with 19 home runs in just over 200 games for the O's, rebounding nicely from a tumultuous couple seasons with the Braves.

The Michigan native went to Atlanta the summer following his Gold Glove and all-star 2008 with the Bucs, but couldn't replicate that success in the South. McLouth batted just .229/.335/.364 in over 1,000 plate appearances with the Braves, was non-tendered after 2011, then was picked up and unceremoniously released by the Pirates in May 2012. He's turned things around nicely since then, however, playing well enough to net a multi-year deal.

Given that Bryce Harper, Denard Span and Jayson Werth have the Nats outfield on lockdown for the foreseeable future, McLouth will likely take on a fourth outfielder role for Washington the next two years. Tyler Moore, Steve Lombardozzi and Roger Bernardina shared that duty in 2013, but only Moore is left of that group, and he lacks the versatility that McLouth brings to the table.

The Nats had serious trouble getting any sort of positive contribution from their bench in 2013, so if McLouth can continue producing he should help them considerably on that front.

McLouth has never hit left-handed pitching well -- career 648 OPS -- so his best bet coming off the bench will probably be as a weapon against righties. Harper and Span also hit from the left side, so it seems most likely that McLouth will get a majority of his starts when Werth needs a day off.

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