Washington Nationals: Raudy Read’s suspension crushing blow
By Ron Juckett
The Washington Nationals prospect will miss 80 games and the playoffs following a positive test for Boldenone. Raudy Read’s timing could not get worse.
The Washington Nationals received a major blow Wednesday afternoon with the announcement of Raudy Read’s 80-game suspension for failing a PED test.
The catcher allegedly tested positive for Boldenone, an anabolic steroid primarily used in horses and cattle. Read is the first player in Nats history to earn a suspension for steroid usage and the timing is terrible.
Expected to go to Spring Training with a chance to make the big-league roster as Matt Wieters’ backup, those chances are long gone. Instead, Read can return in late June and hope he can play his way back into the good graces of the club.
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Considered the best offensive option between himself and Pedro Severino, the other primary catcher grabbing a long audition in West Palm Beach, Read will get playing time in Florida, but not much.
Aside from the blanket denials of use, there was nothing in Read’s statements to say how the substance got in his system. Players are notified privately of a failed test with the suspensions made public after the appeal fails. In the mind of Major League Baseball, he cheated.
A boilerplate apology comes too little and too late.
With Read no longer a factor, Severino and Miguel Montero will battle this spring for a roster spot. Already his best chance to break the club out of camp, Severino must show Mike Rizzo and Dave Martinez he is not an automatic out at the plate.
Montero was the Chicago Cubs backup last year before an open dispute over throwing out baserunners caused an open rift. During the Cubs regular season visit to Washington, things became so heated in the locker room after a game that Montero earned his outright release. He finished the year in Toronto.
Although there is never a good time to sit out half a season, the timing of Read’s suspension is horrible. Catcher is the big weak spot on the Nats roster. Wieters playing time is limited to roughly 90 games behind the plate before fatigue kills what little offense is there.
Severino’s bat is not trusted. His poor September last year did nothing to enhance his chances as Washington’s catcher of the future. The team has tried to score J.T. Realmuto via trade from the Miami Marlins but both sides are at an impasse on which top prospects to move.
Read faced long odds this spring but, besides bad defense, his chances of coming north with Washington were plausible. Not now. Along with lingering suspicions over his talent, the suspension cost Read any shot at the playoff roster. He is ineligible.
Next: Keep an eye on Seth Romero
Not the start Washington needed heading into this huge season.