Last night, the Washington Nationals acquired utility man Matt Reynolds. Although it is not a flashy move, it could pay huge dividends.
After Raudy Read received an 80-game suspension for using performance enhancing drugs, the Washington Nationals suddenly had an open spot on the 40-man roster. This spot did not remain vacant for long, as the Nats have acquired Matt Reynolds from the New York Mets.
Reynolds, a 27-year-old utility man, had spent his entire professional career with the Mets. However, he was recently designated for assignment to make room for Todd Frazier.
With the Nats, Reynolds will serve as valuable depth. The versatile veteran has experience at every position except pitcher, catcher, and center field. Considering the Nats’ exceptional injury history, Reynolds’ versatility could prove to be an enormous asset.
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Most of Reynolds’ major league experience has come on the left side of the infield, but he is an above average defender at all four infield positions. He also has limited experience in the outfield, where he is an average defender.
Unfortunately, Reynolds’ offensive abilities leave much to be desired. He is a career .228 hitter in parts of two major league seasons, but he has enjoyed more success in AAA. In 33 games with AAA Las Vegas last season, he owned a .320/.396/.484 slash line.
Where Reynolds fits in with the Nats is a bit unclear at the moment. Wilmer Difo has established himself as a solid utility infielder, but Reynolds could sneak onto the Opening Day roster if Daniel Murphy is not ready.
Once Murphy returns, Reynolds will likely serve as organizational depth in AAA Syracuse. He has one option remaining, so he can be shuttled between levels as much as the Nats would like.
Although Reynolds is unlikely to beat out Difo, he could be next in line for a spot on the bench. Adrian Sanchez provides similar versatility, but Reynolds has much more major league experience. We do not yet know how much Dave Martinez values experience, but this could be a factor.
Acquiring Reynolds is by no means a flashy move, and he may never play a game for the Nats, but it is a solid trade. They only had to part with cash considerations, which we can assume was not a hefty sum, so there is essentially no risk involved.
Reynolds has put together an uninspiring career thus far, with his defensive versatility being his most valuable trait. However, he could turn a corner offensively with the Nats.
Perhaps a change of scenery and a new coaching staff could expedite his offensive development. After all, it would not be the first time a player improved after leaving New York for DC. Murphy has been a decent pickup for the Nats.
Acquiring Reynolds is not the flashy move that Nats fans were hoping for, but it could pay huge dividends. This is exactly the type of under-the-radar trade that can be extremely beneficial over the course of a season.