The Washington Nationals are in the market for bench depth and a proven closer. According to ESPN’s Jim Bowden, they are tackling one of those needs, as they are close to reaching a deal with first baseman Adam Lind. Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported both have reached an agreement on a one-year deal.
Lind, 33, is coming off one of his most disappointing campaigns in his 11-year MLB career. He hit .239/.286/.431 last season with the Seattle Mariners after being acquired in a 2015 trade from the Milwaukee Brewers. It was his lowest output at the plate since 2010. However he still showed the ability to hit with power hammering 20 home runs and driving in 58 RBIs in 126 games.
Insurance policy: On the surface the move to sign Lind is puzzling considering the depth the Nationals need is more so for catcher. And given the importance of a closer, adding another first baseman shouldn’t have been high on their priorities. However, the team could be preparing itself an insurance policy in case Ryan Zimmerman continues his declining trend.
Zimmerman, who is signed through 2020, has had decline in his numbers in back-to-back seasons. And even with Clint Robinson backing him up, there is a need for some added insurance. Last month a report by Ken Rosenthal suggested the Nats would look to add a bat if Zimmerman or aging Jayson Werth struggled. Signing Lind gives them another option, one of which seems he could split time at first with Zimmerman.
Zimmerman’s time numbered: Of course without an explanation for the adding of Lind, there is the thought that there is at least some consideration to move Zimmerman’s contract. Washington’s brass had their reservations about signing him to a long-term extension in 2014, but the team ultimately elected to lock him in to a six-year deal worth $100 million in part as a merit deal.
But now the team has little wiggle room financially, and paying a worn 32-year old $46 million over the course of the next three years is not ideal. As Washington still has the pressing need to sign a closer and possibly another catcher, it appears insurance for Zimmerman is also a top priority.
Lind good fit: Lind is a quality pick up, even with his struggles last season. He hit one home run per 20.85 at-bats — nearly eight at-bats fewer than Zimmerman. He also hit .021 better than Zimmerman. If asked to DH or start at first base for any amount of time, he is more than capable of filling in.