While fans of the Washington Nationals wait on the outcome of possible trade rumors surrounding Gio Gonzalez, the team has been busy shoring up their minor league system and preparing for Spring Training auditions in March. They have agreed to terms with nine players on minor league deals while extending an invitation to Spring Training to three players. Press Release:
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 fans probably know Maldonado and Brown from that list. Maldonado had a cup of coffee with the Nats in 2010 when he appeared in four games when the Nationals were having trouble keeping their catchers healthy at the time. Brown is a potential future outfielder who has been plagued by injuries. Injuries cut short his 2011 Spring Training campaign and his 2011 September call-up.
All in all, these are basic "filler" moves and it is doubtful any of them leave Viera with the team come April.