UPDATE 3:49 PM EST: As soon as we posted the story below, FanRag’s Jon Heyman reported that the Nationals have, in fact, signed Matt Adams:
Matt Adams has $4M deal with nats plus 500K incentives— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 20, 2017
After the Washington Nationals reportedly declined to pick up their end of the mutual option for Adam Lind that would have paid the veteran corner infielder and bench bat $5M for 2018, Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo talked to reporters about what was behind the decision.
“It was a mutual option,” Rizzo explained at the Winter Meetings earlier this month.
“He had the option to decline. We had the option to decline. We felt that at $5M we’ll get a capable bat for that or less and it doesn’t preclude us from going after Adam Lind himself.”
Lind, 34, signed a 1-year/$1.5M with the Nationals last Spring, and impressed in a bench role for the 2017 NL East champions, putting up a .303/.362/.513 line, 14 doubles, and 14 home runs in 116 games and 301 PAs, over which he produced 122 wRC+, finishing up at 0.9 fWAR.
As a pinch hitter, Lind went 16 for 45 (.356/.396/.644), with a double and franchise-record four pinch hit home runs, which was tied for the MLB lead in pinch hit HRs.
According to multiple reports this afternoon, the Nationals are in serious discussions with 29-year-old slugger Matt Adams, who could fill the same role in D.C. after he put up a solid .274/.319/.522 line with 22 doubles and 20 home runs in 131 games and 367 plate appearances between the St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves this past season, over which he produced 112 wRC+ and was worth +1.6 fWAR.
#Nationals in serious discussions with free-agent first baseman Matt Adams, sources tell The Athletic. Would replace Adam Lind as backup at first.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 20, 2017
Nationals are in talks with Matt Adams about filling the backup role, according to a person familiar with the situation.— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) December 20, 2017
In 50 plate appearances as a pinch hitter, Adams was 13 for 46 (.283/.320/.457) with two doubles and two home runs in that role.
Defensively, the six-year veteran spent time at first base and in left field as Lind did with the Nationals.
New York Post writer Joel Sherman is reporting that once the deal is done, Adams will get $4M with $500K in performance bonuses available.