Eric Thames signs with the Nationals
The Nationals have been on a roll with signing veteran infielders of late, signing Asdrúbal Cabrera and Starlin Castro in recent days. They continued that trend on Monday, inking first baseman Eric Thames to a one-year deal worth $4 million. Technically it is a one-year deal worth $3 million with a mutual option on a second year that carries a $1 million buyout, but it’s functionally a one-year deal because mutual options are never vested. Thames fits in with the Nationals, who have Howie Kendrick expected to spend time at first base but who can also move around. Thames gives them a left-handed counterpart who can also fill in in the corner outfield and provide late-inning pop off the bench. There was some speculation Washington would bring Matt Adams back, but that is likely off the table now. The Nationals still insist they are not out on Josh Donaldson, but after all of these infield signings it’s hard to buy that.
Sox Spin: Thames was the left-handed first baseman I wanted them to sign if they were looking for one, so I’m a little disappointed here. There are other options available, though, including the aforementioned Adams as well as a reunion with Mitch Moreland.
Nationals bring back Daniel Hudson
Thames wasn’t the only signing from Washington on Monday, as they also brought back their playoff closer Daniel Hudson on a two-year deal worth $11 million. There had been speculation of late that they were going to let him walk, particularly after signing Will Harris, but apparently they had other ideas. Hudson is a solid enough reliever and the Nationals are building a solid group after struggling in this area for so many years, but I also think his performance in October has inflated his perceived value among baseball fans.
Sox Spin: Many will probably be upset about the Red Sox missing out on Hudson here. I’m honestly not sure he’d be a huge upgrade for them. I wouldn’t have been upset if they signed him, of course, but I’m not overly upset about missing out.
José Iglesias signs with the Orioles
The Orioles have made their first major-league signing of the winter, and it’s a familiar face. Old friend José Iglesias will be joining the O’s on a one-year deal worth $3 million with a team option for the same amount for a second year. Iglesias is, of course, not a great hitter. He’ll go through runs of batted ball luck from time to time but generally ends the year with a wRC+ in the 80s. He makes up for it with his glove, though, as he is the best defensive shortstop in the game this side of Andrelton Simmons. The Orioles aren’t going to be good in 2020, but they’ll at least have a fun shortstop to watch.
Sox Spin: Remember the Bogaerts vs. Iglesias debates? Obviously we know which side was right (and it wasn’t really too debatable at the time if we’re being honest), but I think I got so caught up in it that I never really took to the time to actually appreciate how good his glove is. I’m glad to watch him semi-regularly in the AL East again.