Washington Nationals: Pedro Severino Not Trade Bait
As the Washington Nationals continue to adjust their 2017 roster, Pedro Severino’s role in the organization needs to be with the team and not elsewhere.
The Washington Nationals have an interesting Spring Training battle ahead with who emerges as the starting catcher.
After a trade with the San Diego Padres brought Derek Norris back to Washington, Jose Lobaton, Pedro Severino and he will all get long looks for the job. Unless the Nationals sign a free agent such as Matt Wieters.
Now the chatter changes over Wieters every time the wind changes direction. First, we hear the Nats want a pitch framer and he does not fit the role. Then, maybe if he would drop the money and years, Washington might bite. Confused? Same here.
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When they kicked the tires on Wieters before, the conventional wisdom was Norris would go. Now, all three internal candidates are potentially on the table, if someone else comes along.
Whether it makes sense to sign an outside catcher and trade Norris is an argument for another day. Trading Severino now, however, makes no sense.
In the loss of Wilson Ramos first to injury, and later to the Tampa Bay Rays via free agency, Severino is the catcher of the future. Lobaton is on the wrong side of 30 and handled the everyday load only one season of his career. Tampa in 2013 if you must know. Norris is in the prime of his career after three seasons on the west coast, but hit under .200 last season with the Padres.
Severino is 23. Now starting his eighth year in the Nationals system, it is time to see what the kid from the Dominican Republic is capable of. Limited returns with the Nats are promising.
He is not a flashy catcher with big power and a hot bat. No one will ever confuse him with Joe Mauer. Severino, though, is a good backstop. With the club since he was 17, he has climbed the ladder from the Gulf Coast League all the way to Nationals Park.
If he hits .260 over the course of a full season with 25 doubles and eight home runs, you take those numbers and run. Those figures are around what he would have put up over a full year in the minors if he stayed at one level.
Severino has three advantages Washington needs to keep in mind. He throws out runners at a good clip. With Triple-A Syracuse last year, it was 22 percent. In 2014 at High-A Potomac, he threw out runners 36 percent of the time. He can frame pitches and, he receives instructions well.
Outside his two stints in the Gulf Coast League at 17 and 18, Severino has advanced every season. He not only climbed the ladder, he ran. A rare feat.
Trading him now makes no sense. Aside from the millions invested in his training, Severino is under team control through 2023. Lobaton is a free agent after this season and Norris has a couple years left. As with Anthony Rendon, Severino is the perfect example of a homegrown player who can make a difference in the lineup.
He knows the young pitchers and will learn. If he cannot win the starting job in West Palm Beach, another year in Syracuse will not hurt him.
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This prospect needs to stay.