Jonah Keri of SI.com reports that the Nationals have signed veteran reliever Burke Badenhop to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Badenhop spent last season with the Reds, posting a 3.93 ERA and 36/20 K/BB ratio in 66 innings. Through age 32 he has a 3.74 career ERA and his track record as a ground-ball machine makes the Nationals snagging Badenhop on a minor-league deal look like a nice low-cost pickup.
Since moving to the bullpen full time in 2010 he has a 3.46 ERA in 393 innings with just 23 home runs allowed in 1,647 plate appearances. He’ll compete for a middle relief role.
Free agent first baseman Matt Adams has signed a one-year, $3 million pact with the Nationals, the Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports. The contract comes with a $1 million buyout on a 2020 option, bringing the total value to $4 million. Official confirmation is still pending completion of a physical.
The 30-year-old infielder will return to familiar turf in Washington after spending the first half of the 2018 season there. He was dealt to the Cardinals in late August for cash considerations and finished the season batting a collective .239/.309/.477 with a career-high 21 home runs, .786 OPS and 0.8 fWAR through 337 plate appearances for the two National League clubs.
Despite his impressive display of power, Adams experienced a significant decline at the plate over the second half of the season, batting well under the Mendoza Line as the Cardinals pushed for a postseason berth against the division-winning Brewers and Wild Card-contending Cubs. Still, he saw enough early success in Washington to merit a second look and should provide a sturdy backup to Ryan Zimmerman at first base in 2019.