With the addition of Denard Span, the Nationals aren’t just plugging a player into the lineup and moving on. He’s like that nice new piece of furniture that causes the homeowner to redecorate the entire room — just so everything is in the perfect spot.
Washington acquired the center fielder from the Twins Thursday for minor league pitcher Alex Meyer, setting off a chain reaction for the reigning NL East champions.
With Span in center, 20-year-old Bryce Harper moves to a corner spot, probably left field, with Jayson Werth staying in right. Michael Morse could then move to first base — the position played by free agent slugger Adam LaRoche.
Also, with Span batting leadoff, Werth drops a few spots in the order. And with either Morse or LaRoche seemingly on the way out, Harper could move down in the lineup as well.
All for a player who hit .284 with 90 steals and a .357 on-base percentage during five seasons with the Twins — the type of player the Nationals have been seeking since moving to Washington in 2005.
‘‘He’s going to bring a dimension to the club that we haven’t had before,’’ general manager Mike Rizzo said, ‘‘a fast-moving, exciting guy that makes contact and moves the guy around and can fly around the field.’’
Span is entering the fourth year of a $16.5 million, five-year contract with a $9 million club option for a sixth year. He played in 128 games in 2012, hitting .284 with four homers and 41 RBIs. He missed time late in the season because of a strained right collarbone.
Rivera deal near
A person familiar with the negotiations told the Associated Press that Mariano Rivera and the Yankees have agreed to a $10 million, one-year contract. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal had not yet been announced. Baseball’s all-time saves leader turned 43 Thursday.
The Yankees will be seeking a new catcher after free agent Russell Martin agreed to a $17 million, two-year contract with the Pirates. The deal is pending a physical.
Upton at home B.J. Upton was given a No. 2 Braves jersey after finalizing a $75.25 million, five-year contract — the biggest ever given a free agent by the franchise. The center fielder and expected leadoff batter gets a $3 million signing bonus payable by Dec. 31 and salaries of $12.45 million next season, $13.45 million in 2014, $14.45 million in 2015, $15.45 million in 2016, and $16.45 million in 2017 . . . The Angels and righthander Ryan Madson finalized a $3.5 million, one-year deal Wednesday night, with another $3.5 million attainable in roster and performance bonuses. After missing all of last season following Tommy John surgery, Madson said he expects to be the Angels’ closer . . . Righthander Felipe Paulino and the Royals agreed to a $1.75 million contract that avoided salary arbitration, a cut of $150,000 . . . The Diamondbacks released righthander Brad Bergesen, who had a 3.64 ERA in 19 relief appearances last season . . . Chan Ho Park, 39, the winningest Asian-born pitcher in major league history, announced his retirement from his native South Korea.