A quiet Nationals offseason took a small step Tuesday when the Nationals signed outfielder Yasmany Tomás to a minor-league deal with an invite to major-league spring training, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Washington.
Tomás, 30, played four seasons with Arizona after signing a six-year, $68.5 million contract following a defection from Cuba. He struggled a bit in 2015, his first season, on the way to .707 OPS. But slugged .508 and finished with an .820 OPS as a 25-year-old in 2016. That was the offensive player many thought Tomás would be in the major leagues.
However, he struggled in 2017 before core surgery ended his season. Tomás spent all of 2018 in Triple A, had just six major-league at-bats in 2019 after being outrighted and clearing waivers, then did not play in 2020 when the Diamondbacks left Tomás out of their 60-man player pool this season.
Tomás arrived from Cuba with sufficient hype -- which explains his initial contract. Arizona became disillusioned with his impatient plate approach and he became irritated with his lack of opportunities there. Tomás’ power is the lone certainty about his abilities in the major leagues. He is best off as a designated hitter against left-handed pitching.
Ultimately, he is a flyer for the Nationals who provides outfield depth, a possible first base or designated hitter option and little overall obligation. Washington has 10 open spots on its 40-man roster, so it needs to back fill choices in order to rework a group which fell flat in 2020 after winning the World Series in 2019.
The news of the signing was first reported by Francys Romero.