The Nationals had interest in switch-hitter Justin Smoak before Smoak signed with the Brewers last week, The Washington Post’s Jesse Dougherty reports. With Smoak off the board, the Nats will continue to explore left-handed hitting options for both first base and their lineup as a whole, given their overall right-handed tilt. As Dougherty notes, it’s quite possible that the Nationals bring back Matt Adams as that lefty bat, and Adams will again team with Howie Kendrick and (the still-to-be-signed) Ryan Zimmerman in a timeshare at first base.
Kendrick is already back in the fold, rejoining the World Series champions on a one-year deal worth $6.25MM in guaranteed money ($4MM in 2020 salary, and either a $2.25MM buyout of a mutual option for 2021, or $6.5MM in 2021 if both sides exercise that option). The versatile Kendrick spent the majority of his time as a first baseman in 2019, though he also saw action at both second base and third base. Those other two infield positions are now in a state of flux, what with Anthony Rendon gone to the Angels and Brian Dozier and Asdrubal Cabrera currently free agents, so Washington could prefer to deploy Kendrick around the infield rather than commit him to a larger portion of the first base playing time.
Zimmerman, of course, is a free agent himself, though the longtime District stalwart has indicated that he will either return to the Nationals on a year-to-year basis or potentially retire.