The Nationals have made a trade.
Expected to be among the busiest teams ahead of Tuesday’s 6 p.m. ET deadline, Washington struck early Monday with its first move by sending utility infielder Ehire Adrianza to his former club the Atlanta Braves in exchange for Double-A outfielder Trey Harris. The club announced the move shortly before noon.
“He gets an opportunity to go back to where he was from and go help them,” Nationals manager Davey Martinez said in his pregame press conference. “I’m excited for him that he gets to go back there. I wish I would’ve seen more of Ehire here because I know the kind of player that he is. He got off to a slow start and I really believe it’s because he was injured.”
Adrianza signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Nationals in March. He was expected to be a key player off the bench capable of playing all over the diamond, but a quad injury he suffered in spring training sidelined him for the first two months of the 2022 campaign. Adrianza then went on to hit .179 with two doubles and a .458 OPS in 31 games.
The 32-year-old is a veteran of nine major-league seasons, the last of which came with the Braves as they made their World Series run last year. He now returns to Atlanta, who designated Robinson Canó in a corresponding move to make room for the utility man.
Harris, 26, is a former standout at the lower levels of the Braves’ system who has struggled since reaching Double-A. In 196 games with the Mississippi Braves, the 2018 32nd-round pick has hit .252 with 12 home runs, nine stolen bases and a .681 OPS.
Washington will hope to unlock the potential Harris showed when he won the Braves’ 2019 Hank Aaron Award, given to the to the top offensive player in their farm system each season.
The Nationals’ corresponding move to the trade was selecting the contract of infielder Ildemaro Vargas from Triple-A Rochester. Vargas, 31, replaces Adrianza on both the 26- and 40-man roster. He’s expected to play a similar role as a utility player who’s seen time at six different positions across six seasons in the majors.