Nationals To Signal Dominic Smith To One-Yr Deal

The Nationals and first baseman/outfielder Dominic Smith are in settlement on a one-year deal, pending a bodily. He’ll make a $2MM wage with an additional $2MM out there in efficiency bonuses.

Smith, 28 in June, is a former first spherical decide, having been chosen by the Mets eleventh general in 2013. He went on to earn excessive reward from prospect evaluators, with Baseball America rating him one of many high 100 prospects within the recreation in 2014, 2016 and 2017. He struggled in his first tastes of the majors in 2017 and 2018 however appeared to lastly click on in 2019. He hit 11 residence runs in 89 video games and produced a batting line of .282/.355/.525. That manufacturing was 34 % higher than league common, as evidenced by his 134 wRC+.

The issue was that 2019 was additionally the rookie breakout of Pete Alonso, who launched 53 residence runs and cemented himself as the primary baseman in Queens. That compelled Smith to maneuver off first and spend extra time in left subject, the place he’s been ranked as a poor defender. He continued hitting within the shortened 2020 season although, launching 10 residence runs in simply 50 video games and ending with a line of .316/.377/.616, wRC+ of 166.

The previous couple of campaigns have been a battle, as he performed by {a partially} torn labrum in 2021 and noticed his batting line fall to .244/.304/.363 and a wRC+ of 86. In 2022, he struggled firstly of the season whereas battling J.D. Davis for taking part in time and was optioned to Triple-A for a time. He completed the yr with a batting line of .194/.276/.384 within the majors for a 67 wRC+, however a .284/.367/.472 within the minors for a 122 wRC+.

Smith nonetheless might have been retained by way of arbitration for one more couple of seasons, with MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projecting him for an arbitration wage of $4MM in 2023. As an alternative, the Mets determined it was time to maneuver on and non-tendered him. Smith will now be a part of the Nats at a barely decrease assure however nonetheless might get to that $4MM determine by way of the incentives. If he has a profitable marketing campaign, the Nats can retain him for 2024 by way of arbitration, or use the additional yr as a promoting level in purchasing Smith on the deadline.

Maybe extra importantly, Smith has an opportunity to get a daily job as a primary baseman for the primary time in years, with Bob Nightengale of USA Today reporting that’s the place Smith shall be enjoying. The rebuilding Nationals had Josh Bell at first for 2021 and the primary half of 2022, however he went to the Padres within the Juan Soto commerce and is now a free agent. The Nats bought Luke Voit again in that deal however non-tendered him at season’s finish. After Bell’s departure, 30-year-old rookie Joey Meneses bought an prolonged look and mashed 13 residence runs in 56 video games. He’ll doubtless get loads extra at-bats in 2023 however he also can play the outfield corners, or he and Smith might share first base and the designated hitter slot. Jeimer Candelario could possibly be within the combine as effectively, although he and Carter Kieboom shall be jockeying for the third base job.

Since being non-tendered by the Mets, Smith has additionally garnered curiosity from the Rays, Royals, Cubs and Padres. If these golf equipment are nonetheless trying to bolster their first base depth charts within the coming weeks, among the remaining free brokers embrace Voit, Trey Mancini, Eric Hosmer and Brandon Belt.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today first reported that the 2 sides had been in settlement on a one-year deal. Robert Murray of FanSided first reported the monetary breakdown.

Picture courtesy of USA As we speak Sports activities.