When Adam Lind headed to free agency, the Nationals were in need of a player just like him. The choices were a pick of two players: Adam Lind or Matt Adams According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Nationals have signed Matt Adams to a one-year contract worth $4 million guaranteed with an additional $500,000 in an incentives bonus. Also, keep in mind that Lind got a $500,000 buyout and Mike Rizzo said both sides turned down Lind’s option. If Adams gets his incentives bonus, the total for the Lind buyout and Adams deal will be exactly a $5 million expenditure.
Adams, who is 29-years-old, is almost exactly 5-years younger than Adam Lind and was willing to take a 1-year deal while having a very similar slashline to Lind who slashed .852 against righties compared to .828 by Adams. For projections, the Nationals might think Lind is due for age regression while Adams is in his prime. Fangraphs is already projecting Matt Adams at a very conservative +0.8 WAR for 2018.
The Nationals bench is essentially complete although the fanbase is coveting an upgrade at back-up catcher instead of Pedro Severino who is penciled in on the depth chart.
Some background on Adams, he grew up in Philipsburg, Pennsylvania which was halfway between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh. He played baseball for Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania and was a 23rd round pick by the Cardinals making his debut with St. Louis in 2012 before being traded last May by the Cards to the Atlanta Braves. In 2017, he batted .274 with 20 home runs with an .841 OPS in 131 games and played both left field and first base. Adams was non-tendered by the Braves who were unsuccessful in trying to trade him. He was overkill for the Braves who already have the lefty Freddie Freeman.
It was Matt Adams power stroke in 2011 that he found in Double-A when he hit 32 home runs in only 463 at-bats for the Cardinals affiliate in Springfield that became the buzz of St. Louis baseball. Adams moved up to top-prospect status with the Cardinals, but fell out of favor in 2015 as he really struggled for the first time in his MLB career. Last year, he was mentioned in trades after Matt Carpenter was going to be moved to 1st base.
“When you looked at how our roster was constructed, it was really hard for us to give Matt [Adams] plate appearances,” Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said about the Cardinals trading Adams to the Braves during the 2017 season. “Clearly moving [Matt Carpenter] to first, and with the dynamics of plate appearances this ultimately made sense [to trade Matt Adams].”
If you are an evaluator looking for even more upside, Matt Adams has 55 career at-bats in Nationals Park of which 25 times at the plate would be considered impressive plate appearances. For any stadiums where Adams has at least 35 at-bats, he puts up his best numbers in Nats Park with beer-league softball stats slashing .382/.410/.764/1.173. Mike Rizzo and his merry band of analytics gurus of course know these stats. That has to be the pièce de résistance to finish that sweet deal.
The 40-man Roster
With these newest Major League additions for the Nats, they have so far reached deals reportedly with Brandon Kintzler and Matt Adams awaiting results of their physicals. Of note, neither player has been officially added to the Nationals 40-man roster which is currently at 37-players, and right now Joe Ross is the only projected player who will definitely be removed from the 40-man roster in Spring Training as he recovers from UCL surgery in his right-pitching elbow and will be moved back to the 60-Day DL.