Ideally, as noted in an article yesterday about Dominic Smith signing on with the Nationals on a one-year/$2M deal in D.C., Washington’s skipper Davey Martinez told reporters earlier this winter it would probably work best to have Joey Meneses playing first base and DHing on days he did not play the field in 2023. So in their search for a bat who could add pop to the Nats’ lineup, a left fielder made sense.

“If we could find someone who could possibly play first base and play some left field, that would be great,” he said.

The signing of Smith, “always a solid defensive first baseman,” as Mets beat writer Anthony DiComo noted this winter, who was pushed to left field in NY by Pete Alonso’s rise with the Mets, raised questions about where the Nats planned to play the 27-year-old, 2013 1st Round pick.

Smith seemingly cleared some of that up when he spoke with reporters on Wednesday and said the Nationals signed him to play first base every day in 2023, an opportunity he’s been hoping for over the last few years.

He split time between first base (187 games) and left field (182) in the majors in New York, but in the minors, he played 565 of 679 career games at first base, and in the big leagues, he’s statistically been a far better defender at first (-3 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) in 1,152 innings in the majors) versus -11 DRS in left field (in 859+ innings).