Matt Adams has had himself an eventful last calendar year. After proving to be a useful left-handed power bat for St. Louis for five seasons, he was sent to the Atlanta Braves early on in the 2017 season.
After being non-tendered by Atlanta earlier this month, Adams has found a new home with the Washington Nationals. The 29-year-old signed a one year deal with the Nationals worth $4 million, with the chance to make $500,000 in incentives, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network.
With Ryan Zimmerman handling most of the first base duties, Adams appears to have a role as a left-handed power bat to use off the bench. In the event of an injury, Adams is good depth to have for a Nationals bench that has lacked depth in recent years.
Adams had a productive 2017 season with the Cardinals and Braves, hitting .274/.319/.522 with a 112 wRC+ and 1.6 fWAR. That type of production is right near his career .271/.315/.469 line. Adams is what he is at this point: a lefty who can bash home runs and get on base just enough to work in a platoon or be a nice option off the bench.
Defensively, Adams is surprisingly solid for his 6-foot-3, 260-pound frame. He’s consistently graded out as an above-average defensive first baseman, finishing with positive defensive metrics in every season except for 2013. Adams did play some left field for the Braves in 2017 but it was a disastrous outcome, as he finished with -5 Defensive Runs Saved in 129 1/3 innings of work. The Nationals are best suited to strictly use him at first base.
Adams has been a borderline starter most of his career and likely would’ve found more interest in a market that wasn’t filled with so many other first base options. Eric Hosmer, Logan Morrison, Lucas Duda and many others are available, which sapped much of the interest in signing Adams.