Abrams was one of six players the nationals received against Juan Soto and Josh Bell at this year’s trade deadline, and he’s a player Washington views as their shortstop of the future. Pitcher MacKenzie Gore and first baseman Luke Voit, also acquired in the deal, have been on the major league roster since Monday, although Gore has not yet pitched as he deals with left elbow inflammation.
García said after Sunday’s game that he felt better than Friday but still felt pain when he tried to run. García also missed Wednesday’s game with right knee soreness. Martinez said Sunday night the team would consider making a move if García’s groin doesn’t improve; that move seems to be Abrams.
“We see [Abrams] like a five-tool type of talent,” Nationals General Manager Rizzo said on Aug. 2. “He could steal you a base, he stays at shortstop, he’s got a good arm and a guy who can hit at the top of the order. “
Abrams hit .232 in 46 games with the Padres this season and also spent time with San Diego’s Class AAA affiliate. He made 28 starts at shortstop in place of Fernando Tatis Jr., six at second base and one in right field during his time in the majors.
Abrams was optioned to Class AAA Rochester following the trade because manager Dave Martinez wanted him to become acclimated to the organization. The Nationals made a similar move last season with catcher Keibert Ruiz after he was traded from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Max Scherzer and Trea Turner deal.
Martinez would not put a timeline on when Abrams would make his Nationals debut in the days following the trade. Abrams hit 9 for 31 (.290) with two doubles and two RBI in eight games with Rochester.
When García was called up on June 1, Martinez made it clear that the plan was for him to be the Nationals’ shortstop for the rest of the season. The 22-year-old started 58 games this season, all at shortstop, and performed well at the plate with a .289 batting average.
But his defensive struggles have been well documented: he has committed 13 turnovers this season and is tied for last in the league with minus-15 defensive runs saveddefense metric of FanGraphs. Abrams will fill his spot at shortstop and will probably continue to play there even when García returns from his injury; García will likely switch to second base, and the two could form the Nationals’ middle infield of the future.
“A good team is strong up the middle,” Rizzo said on Aug. 2. “And, soon, you’re going to see 23-year-old Ruiz and 21-year-old Abrams and Luis Garcia and [Josiah] Gray and a [MacKenzie] Gore and Cade Cavalli. That’s going to be your core and that’s going to be the beginning of the core with a bunch of people coming.”
The Nationals will now have three pieces from their return from the Soto deal in the majors less than two weeks after the trade.
It will give Washington a glimpse of what its future could look like as it wraps up what has been a terrible season. The nationals, with Sunday’s 6-0 lossare 3-10 in August, and at 38-78, they have the worst record in the majors.