Right now the Washington Nationals say they are content with Yan Gomes starting 100 games. I’m guessing, a month into the season Gary Sanchez will have the bulk of that work load.
By now, you have read the comments from general manager Mike Rizzo’s video chat, as well as the updates from manager Dave Martinez. There was a lot to digest, if not just a little which was actually said. As far as the catcher position is concerned, what they said was Yan Gomes is the man. What I heard was, Gary Sanchez is going to be the catcher at some point next year.
At different times this offseason we have heard the budget is “fluid”. We have heard the Nationals aren’t going to be big spenders. We have heard they are active in the trade market. We have heard Rizzo hasn’t had talks about Kris Bryant for years. We have heard finding a “big bat” is the priority. We have heard it all.
All this leads me to believe the Washington Nationals are having conversations with the New York Yankees about acquiring the services of catcher Gary Sanchez.
Right now we have been told Yan Gomes is going to catch 90-100 games. That’s the bait. Do I believe Yan Gomes can handle the pitching staff? I do, he’s done it before. Do I believe Yan Gomes can hold his own with the bat? Sure, Gomes provides a little bit of pop and a respectable average for a catcher. Gomes would do, if the Nationals were to sign a “big bat”.
A lot of the big name free agents are still out there. A lot of big bats are still out there. It’s mid-December and there are no offers on the table? As those big bats find homes not in Washington, the Nats will have to look at the catcher position to lend a hand in the power hitting department.
With every passing day, a free agent catcher gets scooped up. A few days ago it was Luke Maile and James McCann. Then it was Tim Federowicz and Mike Zunino. Pretty soon all the guys the Nationals want to pair with Gomes will be gone, and the only guys left, will be those equivalent to Tres Barrera. This is quite possibly who the Nats begin the season with, Gomes and Barrera.
With all due respect to Barrera, his two lifetime at-bats are not enough to warrant catching the other 60-70 games Gomes does not.
The switch. Remember a few years back when we were led to believe Derek Norris was going to be the starting catcher for the Nationals? Then in late February Matt Wieters was signed. Sure, Norris had some off-the-field issues to contend with, though his job was yanked right out from underneath him. The same is going to happen in this situation. We are led to believe Yan Gomes will be the starting catcher two months into the season. The reality is Gary Sachez will be acquired in a trade, and be the starting catcher two months into the season.
The timeline for this is a little unclear. What we know is the Yankees are not satisfied with Sanchez. We also know is Sanchez is hitting .308 with an OPS of 1.124, while currently playing in the Dominican Winter League. This could just be delaying the Yankees decision to move on from him. When he’s hitting .160 three weeks into the regular season, the Yankees will have a change of heart.
The Nationals want more power bats, are willing to spend some money to put a championship caliber team together, and are currently watching free agent catchers disappear daily. Gary Sanchez and his two years of team control with a current $6M-plus salary will be a welcome sight in the District come next season.