December 10, 2016
On the first day of the Winter Meetings, general manager Matt Klentak said the Phillies were having discussions with fellow teams and player agents, but that they were also finalizing some of the usual, less-heralded additions teams make every winter: free agents signed to minor league contracts, non-roster players with an invitation to major league camp.
Or, as Klentak put it more succinctly, “NRIs.”
The Phillies quietly added two such players to their spring training roster on Friday, signing veteran left-handed reliever Sean Burnett and utility outfielder Daniel Nava to minor league contracts. The signings were not announced by the team, but both names popped up on Major League Baseball’s transaction wire.
Burnett, 34, has spent the majority of his career in the Washington and Pittsburgh organization. Burnett is 15-23 with a 3.52 ERA in 380 major league games since 2004; his season came with Washington in 2010, when he sported a 2.14 ERA in 73 games.
Burnett spent 2016 pitching for four different organizations, spending the majority of the season in Triple-A. He brings depth to a Phillies team that currently has just two left-handed relievers its 40-man roster: Joely Rodriguez and David Rollins.
Nava, 33, is a switch-hitter who spent 2016 with the Los Angeles Angels and Kansas City Royals, hitting .223 in 54 games. Nava is a career .262 hitter in parts of six seasons with Boston, Tampa Bay, the Angels, and Royals.
Nava’s best season came in 2013 with the World Champion Red Sox: he hit .303 with 12 home runs and an .831 OPS in 134 games, splitting the season between left and right field. Nava made his major league debut against the Phillies on June 12, 2010, hitting a grand slam off Joe Blanton on the first pitch of his first major-league at-bat to help lead Boston to a 10-2 win.
Nava will compete for a bench job this spring.