Tomás pairs versatile 'D' with big bat

March 14th, 2021

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Defensive versatility is coveted by the Nationals. So when a player joins the organization, it is not uncommon to see them fill multiple roles around the field.

“I think the word is out that we like to do different things with players,” manager Dave Martinez said. “I think all these guys that come in, when I talk to them all, they all tell me they’ve got five or six different gloves.”

This spring, the Nats have been getting looks at at the corner-outfield and infield positions. The 30-year-old played four seasons with the D-backs from 2015-19 (he spent all of '18 in Triple-A). Over that time, he played 148 games in right field, 108 in left, 31 at third and five at first for Arizona.

“We’re playing him [at] different positions,” Martinez said. “He looks very comfortable. We watched him at first base -- he didn’t make any plays, but he looks comfortable over there. So that’s good that we can plop him at first, possibly third, both left and right field. So far, he’s doing well.”

Not only can Tomás defend multiple spots, he maneuvers them with agility.

“That’s the one thing that really impresses me -- he moves really well for a guy that’s that big,” Martinez said. “You stand up next to him, he’s a big guy.”

With that size comes strength. Tomás can swing for power, exhibited Saturday when he belted a walk-off line-drive single into right field to lift the Nationals over the Mets, 4-3. He has a cumulative career slash line of .266/.306/.459 with a .765 OPS, including 31 homers in 2016.

“He works good at-bats,” Martinez said. “He’s got the ability to hit the ball to all fields, which is nice. He hit the ball hard again tonight for that base hit.”

Tomás did not play in the Majors last season. Now with the Nats on a Minor League deal, he’s vying to become the latest multifaceted defender who can step in whenever -- and wherever -- the team needs.

“This is a guy that’s been on our radar for some time, and we were able to talk to him about bringing him here,” Martinez said. “He seems like a really, really good young man. He loves the game. He plays hard.”