Nady, 34, has 11 years of experience with eight teams in the Major Leagues with a .270 average, 101 home runs and 406 RBIs in 939 games. A right-handed batter, he split 2012 between Washington and San Francisco with a .184 mark in a total 59 games. He appeared in four games for the Giants in the National League Division Series.
Although primarily a corner outfielder, Nady also has logged time at first base.
"It gives us depth going into Spring Training if we have any type of injuries or need," said assistant general manager J.J. Picollo. "He's a guy that in the past has swung the bat well, but he's fallen on some hard times with some injuries or whatnot, but we thought it was an interesting guy to bring in and add a veteran presence and insurance."
Earlier this week, the Royals signed outfielder Willy Taveras, 30, as well as reliever pitchers Dan Wheeler and George Sherrill, both 35, to Minor League contracts.
"With our team being as young as it is in the Major Leagues, our Triple-A team this year is not going to the youthful look, the prospect waiting list that we've had the last two years," Picollo said. "It's kind of part of the transition. You have a more competitive team at the highest level so now you've got to have some backups, some reinforcements, some experience to allow us to stay competitive if somebody goes back."
With top prospect Wil Myers traded to Tampa Bay, the Royals' outfield shapes up as Alex Gordon in left, Lorenzo Cain in center and Jeff Francoeur in right. Jarrod Dyson and David Lough, both left-handed batters, are the other two outfielders on the 40-man Major League roster.
Nady, from Salinas, Calif., after playing at the University of California, was drafted in the second round of the 2000 First-Year Player Draft and went directly to the Majors after signing in September. He got one at-bat for the Padres and singled against the Dodgers.
After two seasons in the Minors, Nady returned to the Padres in 2003 and hit .265 with nine homers and 39 RBIs in 110 games. His most productive season was 2008 when, playing for both the Pirates and the Yankees, he combined for a .305 average, 25 homers and 97 RBIs in 148 games. He's also played for the Cubs, D-backs and Mets.
"He's right-handed which we lack a little bit. If he has a good Spring Training, it's not out of the question we'll have a veteran bat on the bench," Picollo said. "He's got some pop, which is something we don't have right now coming off the bench."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.