VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals have added another veteran to their mix of relievers battling for a spot on the opening day roster, signing right-hander Burke Badenhop to a minor league contract with an invitation to big league camp this spring, a source familiar with the deal confirmed.
Badenhop has been a consistent performer during an eight-year career with five different clubs, posting a 3.74 ERA in 418 appearances with the Marlins, Rays, Brewers, Red Sox and Reds. He has made at least 50 relief appearances in each of the last six seasons, one of only 15 major leaguers with a stake to that claim.
The 33-year-old right-hander struggled early in 2015 in Cincinnati, but bounced back to post a 2.58 ERA over the season's final five months. Despite that strong finish, the Reds declined Badenhop's $4 million mutual option for 2016, instead buying him out for $1.5 million and making him a free agent.
A 6-foot-5 sinkerball specialist, Badenhop will report to Viera with no guarantees, but he should be near the top of the list of minor league invitees with a realistic shot to make the opening day roster. He'll likely compete with fellow veteran right-hander Matt Belisle (who signed a minor league deal Wednesday night) for one potential open slot in the Nationals bullpen.
Jonah Keri of CBSSports.com was first to report Badenhop's signing.