Nats sign Willy Taveras

Seeking a veteran option who could make the team as a fourth outfielder, the Nationals added to their growing supply of spring training invitees on Monday, signing former A’s outfielder Willy Taveras to a minor league deal, according to a team source.

The A’s released Taveras last week shortly after acquiring him in a trade with the Reds, and will have to pay the bulk of his $4 million salary for 2010.

The Nationals would only owe Taveras the major league minimum of $400,000 if he makes the team.

He’s stolen 193 bases in the last five years, but his OPS of .559 last season was one of the worst in the majors. Still, his above-average defense and speed make him an intriguing option, at least in camp. The Nationals had already signed Chris Duncan, Kevin Mench and Jerry Owens to minor league deals.