The Washington Nationals have a need for a back-up first baseman, and Matt Adams recently became a free agent. Could he be a fit?
The Washington Nationals boasted one of the best benches in the league in 2017, led by back-up first baseman and occasional outfielder Adam Lind. Unfortunately, Lind is now a free agent, and he will likely be playing elsewhere in 2018.
Considering how many injuries the Nats suffer every year, they must have as good of a bench as possible. Ryan Zimmerman, in particular, has proven to be exceptionally injury-prone, which makes the back-up first baseman extremely important.
While replacing Lind, the Nats must find someone who is capable of being a threat as a pinch-hitter and can also become the starting first baseman if Zimmerman gets hurt. Judging from these criteria, Matt Adams is a perfect fit.
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Entering 2017, Adams, a 29-year-old first baseman, had spent his entire career with the St. Louis Cardinals. However, there was no spot left for him in 2017, so he was traded to the Atlanta Braves in May.
With the Braves, Adams flourished. He originally served as a back-up first baseman, but Freddie Freeman was hit by a pitch and broke his wrist, thrusting Adams into a starting role. Adams did a phenomenal job as a starter, and did a great job of making up for the loss of Freeman.
When all was said and done, Adams hit .274 with 20 homers in 131 games between the Cardinals and Braves. He was one of the best bench players in the league, but he was recently non-tendered by the Braves, making him a free agent.
If Lind departs in free agency, the Nats should be all over Adams. The way he performed in Freeman’s absence proves that he is capable of filling in long-term, which would be one of his most important tasks with the Nats.
In addition to starting while Freeman was injured, Adams also did a great job off the bench. In 55 at-bats as a pinch-hitter, he owned a .309/.339/.527 slash line to go with 3 homers and 15 RBI’s. With no proven pinch-hitter currently on the Nats’ bench, Adams would be a fantastic addition.
Adams could also fill in in the outfield if necessary. A plethora of outfield injuries led to Lind getting some time in the outfield, which was unexpected. While Adams is far from being a great defensive outfielder, he does have some experience. In 2017, he played 19 games in the outfield, so he is certainly capable of filling in if necessary.
Finally, Adams provides lots of postseason experience. Throughout his career, he has played in 26 postseason games, including a trip to the World Series in 2013. For a team who has yet to advance past the National League Division Series, this could prove to be an enormous asset.
With Adam Lind likely to be playing elsewhere in 2018, the Nats have a need for a new back-up first baseman. Matt Adams may not be a big name, but he could be the perfect fit for the Nats’ bench.