Signed to a 1-year/$4M deal last winter (December 2017), Matt Adams had a .257/.332/.510 line with eight doubles and 19 home runs over 94 games and 277 plate appearances before he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for cash considerations on August 21st.
According to multiple reports this afternoon, the Nationals are willing to gamble on the 30-year-old slugger again.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal was first with the report today the Nationals are bringing the first baseman/bench bat back to the nation’s capital on another 1-year/$4M deal with an option for 2020 according to NBC Sports Washington’s Todd Dybas.
Free-agent first baseman Matt Adams in agreement with the #Nationals, pending a physical, sources tell The Athletic.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 15, 2018
Nats’ GM Mike Rizzo brought up the possibility of adding a backup for Ryan Zimmerman at first when he was asked on the next-to-last day of the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas where there was still work to be done as he built the roster for 2019.
“We’re going to attack the periphery of our roster,” Rizzo said, “... the bench and the depth, and the different type of ingredients that helps Davey [Martinez] manage the game more effectively, so yeah, I think we’ll be looking for help off the bench. We always like a big left-handed bat, but we’ll see where it takes us. We could go a little bit different this year and go for a more versatile type of bench that could fill in more different types of spots, but there’s a lot of different routes that we could go.”
The thinking, according to reports from Vegas, was that the Nationals might sign one player who could play second, help out at first, and potentially move around the infield, but Adams is strictly a first baseman at this point (though he has “played” in the outfield previously).
Signed as a backup at first last winter, Adams ended up starting 59 games last summer with Zimmerman on the Disabled List for a long stretch between early May and mid-July, putting up a .275/.320/.457 line with four of his doubles and seven of his home runs on the year in a stretch of 48 games (33 starts) with Zimmerman on the DL.
Matt Adams has agreed to a one-year, $4 million deal with the Washington Nationals, sources tell Yahoo Sports. @Ken_Rosenthal had the agreement first.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 15, 2018
Signing Adams again, as MASN’s Mark Zuckerman noted, will likely mean that the Nationals go for more of a traditional second baseman/middle infielder as they continue to build their bench for the 2019 campaign.
It’s yet another stealthy move by Rizzo and Co. in the Nationals’ front office, with no chatter about a possible return for Adams before today’s announcement. What’s next for the Nats?