Even after he was traded to the Cardinals as the Nationals’ season collapsed in August, Matt Adams spoke glowingly of Washington as an organization and a city and said he’d be interested in returning.
Turns out he’ll be coming back next season.
The Nationals and Adams have agreed to a one-year contract with a mutual option for 2020, pending a physical, according to two sources familiar with the signing. The deal, which was first reported by The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, guarantees Adams $4 million (a $3 million salary in 2019, plus a $1 million buyout if the 2020 option isn’t picked up).
For the third straight winter, the Nationals knew they needed to acquire a backup first baseman, preferably a left-handed hitter who could complement Ryan Zimmerman. After Adam Lind held the role in 2017, Adams was brought in this season and performed well before he was dealt to St. Louis.
Given the strong relationship between the two sides, a reunion always seemed plausible. And sure enough, they found common ground to work out a new deal.
Adams, 30, had much better numbers with the Nationals (.842 OPS in 92 games) than with the Cardinals (.533 OPS in 27 games) following the trade. He was especially valuable early in the season when a strained oblique sent Zimmerman to the disabled list and thrust Adams into an everyday role.
With Adams now assured of returning to D.C., the Nationals can turn their attention toward signing a starting second baseman. They had been considering the possibility of adding a versatile player who could see time at both second and first bases; now they can focus on acquiring a true second baseman.