The Nationals have announced that the mutual option between the team and first baseman Adam Lind has been declined. It was the team’s election to send Lind back to the open market after a single season in D.C., per Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post (via Twitter).
Entering the winter, team and player had to decide whether to continue their relationship at a $5MM rate for 2018. Because Washington chose to go in another direction, Lind will take home a $500K buyout on his way out the door.
Washington got everything it could have hoped for out of Lind, who earned only a $1MM salary in 2017 (plus $800K in achieved incentives). The 34-year-old mashed to the tune of a .303/.362/.513 batting line with 14 home runs over 301 plate appearances — the vast majority of them coming against right-handed pitching.
It seemed reasonable to think that Lind could be welcomed back in D.C. Though Ryan Zimmerman had a bounceback season of his own, Lind holds plenty of appeal as a reserve first baseman, bench bat, and occasional fill-in in the corner outfield. Still, the Nats already have a lot of payroll committed, leaving questions as to just how much room the team has to spend. And there are quite a few marginal defenders with power bats once again slated to hit the open market, so perhaps the club feels it can find better value elsewhere (or, perhaps, even in a new deal with Lind).