Baker's bat off bench interests Nationals
WASHINGTON -- The Nationals are still looking to upgrade their bench, and they've expressed interest in infielder Jeff Baker, MLB.com has learned. The team has had Baker on its radar since the Winter Meetings, according to a baseball source.
Baker, who attended Gar-Field Senior High School in Prince William County, Va., can play first and third base, as well as the corner-outfield spots. Last year, he played for the Rangers, hitting .279 with 11 home runs and 21 RBIs. Baker has been in the big leagues since 2005, playing his best years with the Rockies and Cubs.
In the 2007, Baker was on a Rockies team that went to the World Series. As a member of the Cubs, his best year was in '09, when he hit .305 with four home runs and 21 RBIs while coming off the bench.
If Washington was to sign Baker, Tyler Moore's future may be uncertain. Moore enters the season as the backup first baseman, but he has to show that he can be consistent at the plate. After a slow start last season, Moore was sent to the Minors. After finding his swing at Triple-A Syracuse, Moore returned to the Nats last August and hit over .340.
The Nationals are looking to improve their bench this offseason, because pinch-hitters batted just 44-for-212 (.208) with seven home runs and 17 RBIs last season.