WASHINGTON — The Nationals prioritized adding a lefty bat to their lineup this offseason, and they did so with first baseman/outfielder Dominic Smith on Tuesday.
Smith has agreed to a one-year deal with Washington, a source told MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand. Smith’s deal is for $2 million and includes another $2 million in performance bonuses, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman. The club has not confirmed the deal, which is pending a physical.
Smith, 27, was non-tendered by the Mets in November after he hit .194 without a home run in 58 games. The former 11th overall pick in the 2013 Draft played the first six seasons of his Major League career in Queens.
Smith could factor into the Nationals’ roster construction at multiple positions: He has played the majority of his innings in left field, where the Nats will need a starter if Lane Thomas shifts to right. Smith has a career .979 fielding percentage in 1,330 frames logged in left, most recently starting 107 games at the position in 2021.
Smith also has extensive playing time at first base (1,152 innings), including 20 starts in 2022. He could back up Joey Meneses, especially if fellow potential first-base backup Jeimer Candelario is named the starting third baseman.
The Nationals also could tab Smith as the designated hitter, or one of several if they address the role by committee. He made 14 starts as the DH last season.
Smith is looking for an offensive turnaround in a new NL East uniform. A career .246/.308/.424 hitter with 46 homers in 447 games, Smith broke out in the shortened 2020 season, posting a .993 OPS with 10 homers and 21 doubles in 50 games. But he struggled to replicate that success in the following seasons and was demoted to the Minors last year before being non-tendered.
The Nationals have added other veterans to their roster via non-tendered free agents this offseason. In November, they signed Candelario, 29, to a one-year contract following his six-year tenure with the Tigers.
Smith is the second former Met to join the Nats this winter after right-hander Trevor Williams inked a two-year deal with Washington in December. Smith and Williams were teammates from 2021-22.
The Nationals’ 40-man roster is now full, and a corresponding roster move will need to be made to clear space for Smith.