What was the Nats’ best move of the last eight months?
Picks: Keeping and Promoting Soto (4.5 votes), Signing Adams (3.5 votes), Signing Mark Reynolds (1 vote)
Inking Adams to a one-year, $4M deal over the winter seemed like a steal at the time, and Mike Rizzo’s heist only looks better as the season progresses.
From 2012-17, Adams posted a very steady 113 OPS+ with the Cardinals and Braves. The Nationals would have been ecstatic if he had posted those numbers in 2018. Of course, he has been even better, blasting 15 home runs and eight doubles between first base and left field en route to a 141 OPS+ that ranks ninth among National Leaguers (min. 200 PAs).
Adams will shift to more of a part-time role with Zimmerman on his way back but expect Martinez to still shoehorn his big slugger into the lineup. He is slashing .294/.372/.594 against right-handers this year.
Rizzo also made a nice addition by picking up Reynolds off the scrap-heap in mid-April. The 34-year-old has posted a near-identical 143 OPS+ to Adams and helped shore up first base against left-handers.
Reynolds could get caught in the Nats’ roster crunch this week when Zimmerman returns, but he still a provided a useful bat over 42 games when runs were at a premium for Washington’s offense.
Keeping Soto was more about the move not made. Rizzo ultimately decided he did not want to ship out his budding outfielder in a potential J.T. Realmuto deal, even though Soto appeared to be pretty far removed from reaching the majors at the time. Well, after a fast track to the bigs that would make Harper blush, Soto has now been the Nats’ most consistent hitter for nearly two months.
Soto has absolutely exceeded expectations, but props to Rizzo for holding onto the best asset in baseball – a young, controllable, future All-Star – and not panicking for a shorter-term gain.