The Nationals have agreed to a one-year, $4 million deal with free-agent first baseman/outfielder Matt Adams. The deal will reportedly include $500k in incentives.
The New York Post’s Joel Sherman was the first to report the terms of the deal on Wednesday. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported that Adams and the Nationals were close to a deal on Wednesday afternoon, while ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported earlier Wednesday that the Nationals had interest in Adams.
Adams, 29, steps into the left-handed hitting backup first baseman role that Adam Lind filled for Washington in 2017. After making a commitment to fitness and losing significant weight last offseason, Adams had the best season of his career, posting a .274/.319/.522 slash line with 20 homers over 367 plate appearances split between the Cardinals and Braves. But while Adams thrived in Atlanta, there likely wasn't going to be much playing time available for him there going forward with Freddie Freeman locked in at first base. With Adams heading into his final year of arbitration and projected to earn a decent raise from the $2.8 million he made in 2017, the Braves chose to non-tender Adams on December 1, therefore allowing him to test free agency a year early.
Lind started 61 games (30 at first base, 25 in left field, and six at DH) while coming off the bench in another 55, so Adams can probably plan on getting about that much playing time with Washington in 2018.
Adams will likely be pretty deep down Washington’s outfield depth chart with guys like Brian Goodwin, Rafael Bautista, Andrew Stevenson, Victor Robles, and Jose Marmolejos supplementing the starting trio of Adam Eaton, Michael A. Taylor, and Bryce Harper. Nevertheless, if they happen to have an injury crisis in the outfield again, he could be an emergency option there, much like Lind was last season.
Even as he’s coming off a season where he was one of the top hitters in the National League, Ryan Zimmerman is 33 years old and has a rather extensive history of injuries, so it makes sense for Washington to have a veteran backup at first base as they go all-out in their attempt to compete for their first-ever World Series title in Bryce Harper’s last season before hitting free agency.