According to MLB.com’s William Landson, 30-year-old first baseman Kila Ka’aihue has joined the Washington Nationals on a minor league deal for the 2015 season. The deal includes an invite to spring training where Kila will get the chance to compete for a spot on the National’s opening day roster.
Kila Ka’aihue last appeared at the major league level during the 2012 season where he appeared in 39 games for the Oakland Athletics. In that time Kila would bat a weak .234, belting 4 homeruns and 9 doubles. Over the past two seasons though Ka’aihue has left baseball here in America to compete for the Hiroshima Carp in the Japan Central League.
During those two seasons he would take part in 154 games compiling a solid .258 batting average and strong .358 on-base percentage while continuing to play very good defense at first. He would also hit 25 dingers in that same period showing some pretty solid power, something that other teams may be interested in if Ka’aihue doesn’t catch on with the Nats this spring.
The first baseman was originally drafted in the 15th round of the 2002 MLB Draft by the Kansas City Royals showing great potential when rising through the system hitting for both power and average at the AAA and AA levels. If Kila can ever come close to reaching that potential he once showed back in the Royals minor league system, he’ll have no trouble beating out Mike Carp during spring training for a backup role in Washington.
But even if the lefty first baseman doesn’t win the job out of the gates, he could still serve as solid depth down in AAA where at some point he’ll likely get a shot to prove himself again at the major league level.