The Washington Nationals made their seventh big league deal of this off-season re-signing Matt Adams to a one-year deal with a mutual option for 2020. Adams will receive $3 million for his 2019 salary according to reports with a mutual option that comes with a $1 million buyout.
So far the Nationals have signed Kyle Barraclough, Trevor Rosenthal, Kurt Suzuki, Yan Gomes, Patrick Corbin, Tanner Rainey, and now Matt Adams to big league deals. While Mike Rizzo hinted that he would be looking for a lefty batter who could give the team some versatility and play some second base — Matt Adams checks all of those boxes sans the “second base” part. Rizzo also hinted at a player who resembled Matt Adams without naming him after Justin Bour came off the board earlier this week.
“We’re going to attack the periphery of our roster,” Mike 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.”
In 2018, Matt Adams was a peak performer before the All-Star break slashing an almost All-Star worthy .288/.362/.565/.927 for the Nationals, but then Ryan Zimmerman returned from the D.L. after the All-Star break and Adams went into a complete funk going hitless for over 3-weeks. Adams was then waiver-claimed by the Cardinals, and he amassed a paltry second-half batting average of .157 prompting the Cards to look in a different direction this off-season.
Adams who is now 30 was questionable as to whether he would want to return to the Nationals after he played mostly in pinch-hitting appearances for the Nationals after Zimmerman returned in July, but here he is back again — this could be the most significant indication that the Nationals really have moved on from Bryce Harper as Adams gives the team the big left-handed thump along with Juan Soto that the roster needed. With an outfield potentially of Soto, Adam Eaton and top prospect Victor Robles and Zimmerman and Adams at first base, where would Harper fit in?
The 40-man roster now stands at 39 players after the Adams acquisition which breaksdown to 21 pitchers, 5 catchers, 8 infielders, and 5 outfielders. The Nationals have only one open spot now and are expected to sign a second baseman, and two starting pitchers which would put the roster at 42 players which will lead to some more trades or DFA’s.
With the Adams signing, it is another great sign that players want to return to the Nationals, and Adams gave all indications after his waiver-claim in August that he enjoyed his time with the Nationals.
“I am thankful for this opportunity and being part of this [Nationals] team and being able to go deep into the playoffs, for sure,” said Adams almost a year ago. “It is huge. Everyone’s goal is to make it to the World Series and bring that championship home. The guys who are here on this team and the leaders we have is special. I am glad to be a part of it.”
The Nationals, as manager Dave Martinez said, have the same goal of going deep in the postseason, and he will get a second chance to do this with his team in 2019 and plans a much different look for Spring Training. His boss, Mike Rizzo, would like to get DMart a few more players to firm up the roster and Adams goes a long way towards that goal for this 2019 team.