WASHINGTON -- Even after the Nationals traded first baseman Matt Adams to the Cardinals in August, he made a point of emphasizing how much he enjoyed Washington and would be open to re-signing in the offseason. Although he had only been with the team for a few months, it had
WASHINGTON -- Even after the Nationals traded first baseman Matt Adams to the Cardinals in August, he made a point of emphasizing how much he enjoyed Washington and would be open to re-signing in the offseason. Although he had only been with the team for a few months, it had already started to feel like home.
It's a big reason why Adams officially returned to the Nationals on Tuesday, when the team announced that he agreed to a one-year deal with a mutual option for 2020. The contract will pay at least $4 million guaranteed, with Adams set to make $3 million in '19 with a $1 million buyout if his $4 million mutual option is not picked in '20, as they so rarely are.
"I'm kind of lost for words, because I'm excited for this opportunity," Adams said during a conference call with reporters on Tuesday. "I think the team is definitely going to be better than it was last year with the acquisitions that [general manager Mike Rizzo] has made so far this offseason. And I don't think that we're done yet, either."
Adams returns to the familiar role that he played in 94 games with the Nationals last season. He filled in primarily at first base while Ryan Zimmerman was on the disabled list, but he also played some left field. Adams posted a slash line of .257/.332/.510 with 18 home runs and a 118 OPS+ during his time in Washington, which should help make up for some of the power the Nats are losing from last year's team, most notably if they do not re-sign Bryce Harper.
"It's exciting to see so far what they've done," Adams said before he added that questions about Harper should be left to Rizzo. "There's still a lot of offseason left for them to go out and get some pieces that they want. I think it's just going to be exciting to get down to Spring Training and get some work [done]. Everybody's goal is to get back to the postseason and bring that championship to D.C."
Adams signed a nearly identical contract with the Nationals last offseason (one year, $4 million) on Dec. 22, 2017.
"The way my brain and myself works, the later I sign, the more freaked out I'm going to be," Adams joked, as he becomes the latest move in what has been an active offseason for the Nationals.
Washington's roster overhaul has included adding two new catchers in Yan Gomes and Kurt Suzuki, two new relievers in right-handers Kyle Barraclough and Trevor Rosenthal and one starter in Patrick Corbin. It also lost a starter, Tanner Roark. Securing Adams fills the backup first baseman role and left-handed power hitter off the bench that the Nationals have prioritized in recent years, with the ability to step in and play full time if needed. The move also gives the Nats room to focus on finding a true second baseman in free agency and potentially using Howie Kendrick in a utility role off the bench.
But on Tuesday, the Nats' latest move was to reunite with a player they felt was a perfect fit for them, and one who felt Washington was a perfect fit, too.
"It's a place that feels like home to me," Adams said. "I know I was only there for three-quarters of a season, but it felt way longer than that. I'm just very excited that the opportunity presented itself to be able to sign back."
Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.