Nats agree to terms with nine players on minor league deals with spring training invitations

The Washington Nationals have agreed to terms with right-handed pitchers Jeff Fulchino and Waldis Joaquin, catcher Carlos Maldonado, infielders Andres Blanco, Jarrett Hoffpauir and Chad Tracy, and outfielders Brett Carroll, Jason Michaels and Xavier Paul on minor-league contracts with invitations to Spring Training. Additionally, the Nationals extended Spring Training invites to right-handed pitcher Rafael Martin, catcher Sandy Leon and outfielder Corey Brown. Nationals Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcements.

Fulchino, 32, is 9-10 with 21 holds and a 4.84 ERA in 163 relief appearances during five big-league seasons with Miami (2006), Kansas City (2007), Houston (2009-11) and San Diego (2011).

Joaquin pitched each of the last three seasons with San Francisco, posting a 1-0 record with one hold and a 5.40 ERA in 19 relief appearances. In six minor-league seasons, the 24-year-old has gone 13-13 with a 3.50 ERA and 8.0 strikeouts per 9.0 innings (262 K/293.1 IP) over 167 games/26 starts.

A 16-year veteran catcher, Maldonado returns for his third season in the Nationals organization. The 32-year-old has appeared in 25 big-league games during three seasons with Pittsburgh (2006-07) and Washington (2010).

Blanco, 27, batted a combined .260 with 26 runs scored, 13 doubles, a triple, two home runs and 16 RBI over the last two seasons with the back-to-back AL pennant winning Texas Rangers. The switch-hitting infielder has played parts of six seasons in the Major Leagues with Kansas City (2004-06), Chicago-NL (2009) and Texas (2010-11).

Hoffpauir batted .281 with five home runs and 34 RBI in 91 games last season with Tucson of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. The 28-year-old has appeared in 21 big-league games with St. Louis (2009) and Toronto (2010).

Tracy joins the Nationals after playing the 2011 season with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp of Japan’s Central League. A power threat from the left side of the plate, the 31-year-old has belted 79 home runs during his seven big-league seasons with Arizona (2004-09), Chicago-NL (2010) and Miami (2010). Tracy batted a combined .294 with 47 homers and 152 RBI for the Diamondbacks from 2005-06, reaching the 20-home run and 70-RBI plateaus in consecutive seasons.

Carroll, 29, has logged big-league time in each of the last five seasons with Miami (2007-10) and Milwaukee (2011). Last season, he batted .270 with 16 home runs, 63 RBI and 11 stolen bases in 117 contests with the Triple-A clubs in Nashville and Pawtucket.

Michaels, 35, has batted .263 with 59 home runs and 299 RBI during his 11 Major League campaigns with Philadelphia (2001-05), Cleveland (2006-08), Pittsburgh (2008) and Houston (2009-11).

Paul batted .255 with 30 runs scored, six doubles, five triples, two home runs, 20 RBI and 16 stolen bases in 128 games last season with Los Angeles-NL and Pittsburgh. The 26-year-old has played parts of three big-league seasons with the Dodgers (2009-11) and Pirates (11).