This Nat went from selling homes to hitting homers

March 21st, 2023

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- The tale of how a LinkedIn message played a pivotal role in 's Major League career was well-told last season: An exchange between Garrett and a former video coordinator led to an invite to the D-backs’ Spring Training and -- months later -- his Major League debut.

The events that transpired before the creation of his LinkedIn profile are just as significant in Garrett’s journey, too. His path isn’t just about the monumental outcome of social networking; it’s also the story of an outfielder-turned-real estate agent who was showing houses when he wasn’t showcasing his baseball skills -- all while keeping the game on his mind.

“I was definitely a baseball player doing real estate,” Garrett, 27, said at the Nationals training complex. “It wasn’t like, ‘I’m going to do this full-time.’ It was like, ‘I’m doing this on the side, but I know baseball’s my thing.’”

In the fall of 2019, Garrett had concluded the season with the Marlins’ Double-A affiliate. He returned home to the Houston area for the winter, where his then-girlfriend was practicing real estate. Garrett’s interest in the industry was sparked -- “This would be a good offseason job,” he thought. He obtained his real estate license by the end of the year.

When Spring Training was halted in 2020 because of the pandemic, Garrett became a go-to for his friends to find apartments and homes. He estimates he has sold six houses, plus completed a handful of leases.

“I still have my first commission check,” Garrett said. “It’s hanging in my parents’ house in my room."

Through the process, Garrett adopted a new set of skills. He learned about marketing and executing business plans. Garrett also realized what he liked most about it and what he would do differently.

“Numbers [more than marketing], for sure,” he said with a smile. “If I ever got back into residential, I would definitely outsource the marketing side. It’s not for me. Going on Canva and creating an open house presentation, no chance.”

His profession also came up when the 6-foot-2, 224-pound Garrett connected with clients.

“I think after the first meeting, people were like, ‘You kind of look athletic,” Garrett said. “I was like, ‘Yeah, I kind of play baseball, too.’ They figured it out pretty quick.”

Garrett’s real estate ventures have paused since he made his Major League debut. He relocated to Phoenix for the offseason, and his license is no longer active. He still is a go-to for advice for his friends, but his focus is landing a spot in the bigs rather than a listing.

Garrett made an impression in Spring Training with the Nats, with whom he signed a Major League deal in November after being designated for assignment by the D-backs. Manager Dave Martinez noted Garrett’s energy and vocalness as he vied for a backup outfield role. Garrett exhibited power last season by hitting 32 home runs between Triple-A and the Majors, and the Nats also wanted him to work on consistency, situational baseball and driving in runs during camp.

Garrett hit .235 with a homer and four RBIs in 18 games before being optioned to Triple-A on Tuesday among late-camp roster moves.

“I like the guys around here,” Garrett said recently. “I feel comfortable around these guys, not like I’m walking on eggshells or anything. Davey’s an awesome guy. The coaching staff, they’re awesome. A lot of guys are around my age, a lot of guys are in the same shoes as me, trying to compete and make the team. So it’s definitely a fun and competitive atmosphere.”

When Garrett is done for the day at the Nationals' complex, he often will take the scenic route back, with the beach on one side and sprawling houses on the other. While Garrett appreciates real estate of that magnitude, he is thinking about his next day at the park. He kept his business card in his bag last season as a constant reminder of his goal to make a Major League stadium his home.

“There’s no need to complain because this game could be taken away from you the next day,” he said. “Go out there, compete and have fun. But mostly, just take it all in, because when I looked down at the business card, it reminded me, 'At one point, you weren’t playing baseball in the summer and all your friends were. So don’t take any day for granted.'"