Long tied to the Chicago Cubs as a flier, bounce-back, low-risk source of lefty power, former Mets first baseman Dominic Smith is signing with the Washington Nationals.
Bob Nightengale and Mark Feinsand are reporting it, with Nightengale adding that Smith is expected to play first base for the Nationals.
The fit there makes plenty of sense, as the Nationals need a first baseman and figure to be in full-on rebuilding mode. So you sign Smith, give him playing time, see if he bounces back enough to be a trade piece or to be kept around, and figure out the position again later. No risk.
Given that the Nationals were among the teams looking at these short-term first basemen, this signing also has implications for that market. Does this mean the Nationals knew they weren’t getting a guy like Trey Mancini so they pivoted? Does it mean some other team that Smith was hoping would sign him decided to go another direction, and we’ll hear about it soon?
Of note, the Cubs have been closely connected to Eric Hosmer, a fellow lefty, the last few days. (UPDATE: Yup, the timing was not a coincidence. Cubs are close to landing Hosmer.)
Stay tuned to see if this is a one-off, or if the Mancini, Hosmer, Luke Voit, Yul Gurriel, etc. types are going to be signing soon.
UPDATE: It’s not a HUGE deal or anything, but this is real money for Smith, who has been more or less unplayable in the big leagues the last two years:
Honestly, if the Cubs had signed Smith to anything EXCEPT a minor league deal, that would’ve been concerning.