Nationals sign two minor league free agents

The Nationals have added a pair of minor league free agents to their system, Baseball America’s Matt Eddy reported on Wednesday, signing outfielders Buck Coats and Jonathan Van Every.

Coats, 27, has played 46 major league games for the Cubs, Reds and Blue Jays, the last one coming in 2008. He’s a 6-foot-3 left-hander who’s hit for a .286 career average in the minors, and gives the Nationals some inventory in their outfield. There’s always a hope that he’ll catch on with the team, and Washington could get a cheap left-handed bat for their system.

Van Every, who turned 31 in November, has played 39 games in the majors for the Red Sox over the last three seasons. He finished the year in Pittsburgh’s system, and only has a .254 career average in the minors, but he hit 10 homers in 74 games for Triple-A Indianapolis last year, and hit 26 homers in the minors as recently as 2008.

Realistically, there’s a slim chance either player will turn out to be much. But everybody’s looking for the next Shane Victorino, and the two signings are a pair of low-risk, low-cost additions for the Nationals.