Nationals sign Matt Stairs to minor league deal with spring invite

The Nationals just announced they’ve signed Matt Stairs, the majors’ all-time leader in pinch-hit homers, to a minor league deal with an invite to big league spring training. The move is a low-risk way for the team to get some left-handed power off the bench.

The signing is by no means a transformative move - Stairs will be 43 in February, and he would take up a roster spot on what looks at the moment to be a crowded bench. But he hit four pinch homers last year for the San Diego Padres, which tied him for the major league lead, and can still provide some pop for a team that has little of it - in the starting lineup or on the bench.

And because it’s a minor league deal, the Nationals can keep Stairs in the minors to start the season and bring him up if they decide they want him on the bench. As a low-risk, need-based move, it makes sense.