Wednesday the New York Post’s Joel Sherman reported the Washington Nationals and free agent Matt Adams had agreed on a 1-year deal worth $4 million, plus $500,000 in possible incentives. The 29-year-old first baseman spent 2017 with both St. Louis and Atlanta, batting .274/.319/.522 with 20 home runs and 65 runs driven in. Atlanta decided to non-tender Adams earlier this winter, rather than pay him a projected $4.6 million during arbitration.
Drafted by St. Louis in the 23rd round in 2009 from Slippery Rock University, Adams slugged his way through the Cardinals’ minor league system, reaching the majors in 2012. During his 6-year major league career, the left-handed hitting Adams is a .271/.315/.469 batter over 586 total games. Of particular interest to Washington is Adams’ ability to punish right-handed pitching, to the tune of .286/.333/.495 for his career. Conversely, he struggles mightily against lefties, hitting a dreadful .206/.236/.357. He projects to fill Adam Lind’s role from 2017 as a backup to Ryan Zimmerman at first base and a fearsome pinch hitter option late in games.
Building off Adam Lind, he and Matt Adams are eerily similar players – both are left-handed hitting first basemen whom have dabbled unsuccessfully playing corner outfield. Lind is a career .272/.330/.465 hitter and a .288/.348/.504 hitter against righties, verses .271/.315/.469 and .286/.333/.495 for Adams – Washington interestingly passed on Lind’s $5 million contract option last month, only to sign Adam Lind 2.0 (aka Matt Adams) for $1 million less.
General Manager Mike Rizzo has done a nice job this winter targeting proven veterans to fill voids on the roster. We are still awaiting official confirmation on the Brandon Kintzler contract and Adams must pass his physical, but considering the budget constraints, securing both for meager 2018 salaries is a clear win. Adams is a flawed player who must be limited to first base defensively and hitting only against righties, but utilized properly, can be a highly productive hitter. There is some risk involved in this signing due to his limitations, but Washington has found a nice value and quality match with Matt Adams.
NatsGM Overall Grade -> Solid B, Borderline B+