The Nationals have signed infielder Wilmer Difo to a one-year, $1MM contract, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Difo had been projected to earn $1.2MM in his first year of arbitration eligibility.
Difo, who was seen by some as a non-tender candidate, is evidently still viewed by the Nationals as a utility option off the bench. However, his signing doesn’t necessarily guarantee him a roster spot with the 2020 Nationals. To some degree, he represents insurance against the potential losses of Brian Dozier, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Howie Kendrick, all of whom are free-agent infielders who would slot in above Difo on the depth chart.
Notably, Difo is out of options, meaning that he’ll need to clear waivers before he can be demoted to the minor leagues.
Last year, Difo played in 43 games for the Nats, posting a .252/.315/.313 batting line. He’s hardly threatening with the bat, but he’s valued for his ability to capably play multiple positions. Although he was only used in the infield last year, he’s played all over the diamond throughout his career—everywhere but first base, pitcher, and catcher.