The Chicago Cubs placed outfielder Nate Schierholtz on release waivers on Wednesday. Five days later, the Washington Nationals sign him to a minor league contract and assigned him to their AAA affiliate in Syracuse.
The Cubs designated Schierholtz for assignment back on August 6th when they activated pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa from the disabled list.
Schierholtz hit just .192 with six homers and 33 RBI this year in 99 games with the Cubs. He also struck out 76 times in 313 at bats.
The Nationals will likely give Schierholtz a chance to get back to the major leagues if he performs well at Syracuse. After all, he did hit 21 home runs last year. If he can regain some of that power stroke, he could help the team down the stretch.
It is a low-risk proposition for the first place Nationals. They have had trouble getting production off of their bench this season. And with Ryan Zimmerman, Steven Souza, and Nate McClouth on the disabled list, they could use the depth in the outfield.
Rookie Michael Taylor has also struggled filling in for McClouth, hitting just .176 so far.
Bench outfielders Tyler Moore and Scott Hairston are both hitting in the low .200′s (.214 and .220 respectively). While Schierholtz’s numbers are not really an improvement on that, he does have more power and could provide a left-handed bat off the bench.
Of course, all of that hinges on his performance at Syracuse. Who knows, maybe the prospect of playing for a contender will get him back on track. He is a career .254 hitter.