Now that Jose Lobaton has departed in free agency, the Washington Nationals are in need of a new catcher. Here are five potential candidates.
The Washington Nationals have shown a tendency to mismanage contracts, which is exactly what they did while seeking a catcher last off-season. They originally traded for Derek Norris, but Scott Boras eventually convinced them to sign Matt Wieters, which proved to be a mistake.
Similar to their catching pursuit circus, the Nats catchers combined to form one of the worst tandems in the league.
Despite being among the highest paid players on the team, Wieters hit just .225, including a red-hot April. The Nats’ pitching staff praised his receiving skills, and Gio Gonzalez especially benefitted from having Wieters behind the plate, but he was putrid with a bat in his hands.
Lobaton, Wieters’ back-up, also had a down year. He was among the most entertaining players to watch, but he had a nightmare season. In 51 games, he hit just .170 with four homers. Fittingly, his rally-killing pickoff at first base in game five of the NLDS will be one of the most painful lasting images of 2017.
Now, Lobaton has signed a minor league contract with the rival New York Mets. With Lobaton out of the picture, the Nats are once again in need of a catcher. There are rumors that the Nats would like to acquire a new starting catcher and relegate Wieters to a lesser role in 2018, but they may have to settle for a back-up or platoon partner.
There are a few options available, but each comes with certain caveats. Without further ado, let’s take a look at five potential catching options for the Nats.