Washington Nationals Sign Former Pitcher Micah Owings as First Baseman

Kenny DeJohn@@kennydejohnAnalyst IIIFebruary 6, 2013

PHOENIX, AZ - OCTOBER 05:  Relief pitcher Micah Owings #15 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the Milwaukee Brewers in Game Four of the National League Division Series at Chase Field on October 5, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Brewers 10-6.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Remember Micah Owings the pitcher?

Yeah, well, he's now a first baseman on the Washington Nationals.

General manager Mike Rizzo and the Nationals have signed the 30-year-old Owings to a minor league contract. When the Nationals' public relations team broke the news, it purposefully listed him as a first baseman:

Owings has pitched for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Cincinnati Reds and San Diego Padres over the course of his six-year career. He owns a 32-33 career record with an ERA of 4.86.

Where he really excels, however, is in the batter's box.

In 219 career plate appearances, Owings owns a line of .283/.310/.502 with 14 doubles, nine home runs and 35 RBI. He even won the NL Silver Slugger Award for pitchers in 2007.

Projected over a full season, that's about 25 home runs and 90 or so RBI.

Despite the big bat and usefulness as a pinch hitter, Owings may not find it so easy to make the team out of spring training.

Chad Tracy will likely win the reserve corner job out of spring training, but Tyler Moore has a strong chance of earning a spot on the roster as well.

This leaves Owings without a spot until an injury occurs or until the rosters expand in September. This is a nice depth move for Washington, though, and it definitely won't hurt the club moving forward.

If anything, it's a smart move that leaves manager Davey Johnson with options in his final season with the Nationals.