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When does Ramos take over as No. 1 catcher?

Apr 7, 2011, 2:47 PM EST

MIAMI — If Jim Riggleman stays true to form, Wilson Ramos will be behind the plate for tonight's series finale (with the Nationals needing to beat ace Josh Johnson to avoid another sweep at the hands of the Marlins). But if Riggleman stays true to form, Ivan Rodriguez will be back in the lineup tomorrow afternoon at Citi Field, regardless of what Ramos does tonight.

It's been the manager's intention all along to have his two catchers split the job 50-50 through the season's first couple of weeks, knowing at some point Ramos would likely ascend to the No. 1 role.

Problem is, Riggleman may need to consider making that transition even sooner than he expected, because Rodriguez is seriously hurting the Nationals at the plate right now.

With an 0-for-4 showing last night, Pudge remains hitless for the season in 10 overall at-bats. Yes, he did reach twice (on a fielder's choice and an error) but each came on weakly struck groundballs toRead more »

  1. Steve M. - Apr 7, 2011 at 3:17 PM

    It should be immediately. The kid has talent. On offense Pudge has lofted one ball out of the infield in 2011.

  2. Mark'd - Apr 7, 2011 at 3:22 PM

    Is today soon enough? His new nickname is DL for Double Pudge!

  3. Anonymous - Apr 7, 2011 at 3:26 PM

    DL or DP?

  4. Canada's #1 Nats Fan - Apr 7, 2011 at 3:32 PM

    It's discouraging not to be putting the best possible team on the field each game because we don't want to hurt someone's feelings or because a player has options and we're afraid we might lose a player no one else would want if we tried to send them to the minors. Can't wait until we start playing our best players, if that ever happens.

  5. Mark'd - Apr 7, 2011 at 3:32 PM

    DP for Double Play or Double Pudge. Kind of the same these days.

  6. josh f - Apr 7, 2011 at 3:33 PM

    Can Ramos bat twice in the lineup?

  7. Pete - Apr 7, 2011 at 3:34 PM

    I'll see your Wilson Ramos and raise you a Colin Ballestar for Chad Gaudin.

  8. MGG - Apr 7, 2011 at 3:42 PM

    Today no more Pudge. I'm done with him, and the rest of this teams "veteran leadership." If I have to hear that phrase again about how we acquired some washed up piece of garbage and say oh its all about the presence and the leadership I'm going to throw up. I'm done with this team losing at a rapid clip and throwing games away because we might be afraid to lose garbage like coffey or gaudin, or broderick. Send them all packing and bring up young arms. Thats a phrase I want linked with this tem "Young Talent."

  9. phil dunn - Apr 7, 2011 at 4:02 PM

    Pudge is washed up with the bat but "nice guy" Riggleman could never admit that. This is just another reason why the Nationals need a real manager.

  10. Theophilus - Apr 7, 2011 at 4:06 PM

    I don't see any signs Rodriguez is about to start hitting. Watching him run last night (once to first, once from third to home) was painful. There's just nothing left in those legs.Having said that, expecting Ramos to hit more than .250 in his first full year is unrealistic. Posey he ain't. Best hope is he's Benjie or Yadier.

  11. DFL - Apr 7, 2011 at 4:57 PM

    By May Day, Ramos should be starting 4 games a week and Rodriguez 2. By June, a 5-1 ratio should be maintained. If anyone wants Rodriguez at the trading deadline, he should be traded. As for Rodrgiuez's march to 3000 hits, Rodriguez could be signed next season but as a normal backup catcher, catching 30 games a year, barring injury to Ramos.

  12. Sam - Apr 7, 2011 at 5:12 PM

    "1. There will be blog entries written early in the season than begin by warning about small sample size, then go on to ignore sample size anyway."…and he's 1-for-1 so far.Mark, you talk about how small the sample sizes are for Pudge and Ramos and then proceed to say that 6-for-43 with RISP is concerning. In fact, that's still too small of a sample size to really be concerned about it. Plus, given the common knowledge that BA w/RISP tends to even out and be the same as overall BA over the course of the year, there really shouldn't be much concern.

  13. N. Cognito - Apr 7, 2011 at 5:17 PM

    I agree with the sample size argument, but I also believe Pudge is almost done as a hitter. I don't think he'll ever get hit #3000.

  14. NatsHat - Apr 7, 2011 at 5:22 PM

    Clearly Pudge is pressing, as is Morse and Ankiel. Heck let's bench them all and pull players out of the stands. Before last night you could have said the same about Desmond, should we bench him too? Oh, wait he got 4 hits. Ramos could be the second coming of …. Pudge, but before we anoint him let's give Pudge say, 20 at bats for his 20 years of service.

  15. Sam - Apr 7, 2011 at 5:22 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. joemktg - Apr 7, 2011 at 5:22 PM

    Only a few games into the season: let Pudge work out his issues so that he's back to where he was hitting in the Spring (around .280). Having said that, what really drives this decision is how Flores performs in Syracuse. Should Flores do well during the first half, I fully expect Pudge to go to one of his former haunts to play towards 3000.

  17. Sam - Apr 7, 2011 at 5:23 PM

    @N. Cognito:Oh, I completely agree. Last year and the past couple of years before that hint at that. But it's way too early to get worked up about BA w/RISP. In fact, it may never be time to get worked up about it.

  18. Avar - Apr 7, 2011 at 5:25 PM

    It does appear that Pudge may be almost done. I wouldn't write him off yet but I wouldn't have him split time either. Ramos needs most of the starts.Agree BA w/ RISP is nothing to worry about right now. Gaudin needs to right the ship fast. Another bad outing or three and we'll have to see Ballester.

  19. Sam - Apr 7, 2011 at 5:26 PM

    @NatsHat: If there was any sort of evidence that Rodriguez was anywhere near the same talent level that he was at 10-15 years ago, no one would have a problem with him starting. The fact is, he has been a dreadfully bad hitter for the past few years. All evidence suggests that he is washed up. He is only getting playing time because of his service. Sure, he deserves respect. Everyone respects him. He is one of the best catchers to have played the game. But it's not fair to hurt the team because of his reputation.

  20. Anonymous - Apr 7, 2011 at 5:55 PM

    Ah, Ramos is this year's Morse. If we just play him…

  21. Dave - Apr 7, 2011 at 6:26 PM

    Everyone knows that Ramos is the future but it is 5 games in. Pudge did bat.296 in the first half last year trailing off after his hot April start.Give him a couple more weeks and if his is still struggling then let him fade into the bench.

  22. A DC Wonk - Apr 7, 2011 at 6:30 PM

    … on of the smarter things that Boswell has been saying for years and years:A team is never as bad as it looks during a losing streak, and is never as good as it looks during a winning streakCold streaks suck, especially at the beginning of a season. But it happens.

  23. Ernie - Apr 7, 2011 at 6:32 PM

    I'm with Dave. Pudge carried the team in a lot of ways last April and May. We can at least give him a month to figure things out again before we turn on him. That said, he didn't play for us when we has earning his way into the Hall. The Nats don't owe him an entire year.And @anon at 1:55 ("Ramos if this year's Morse"): If things don't change soon, Morse might be this year's Morse. The guy still looks so clueless up there. If I didn't trust Mark's coverage of Spring Training and all the stories of his hitting in Florida, I would be asking why we even have him on the team right now. Are we sure they didn't send the wrong guy up from Viera? Is this some kind of Jose/Ozzie Canseco trick?

  24. Doc - Apr 7, 2011 at 6:55 PM

    Great batting analysis on Pudge/Ramos ABs, Mark.If Riggleman doesn't play Ramos regularly (not every other day) then we'll see another indication of Riggleman's problems with executing winning baseball.Pudge will still get his $3 million for the season, regardless of how many ground balls to the infield, and double plays that he hits into, as well as time he spends on the bench.

  25. The Joker - Apr 7, 2011 at 7:09 PM

    Is Rodriguez closer to the record of hitting into double-plays than he is to the 3000 hit plateau?

  26. NatsHat - Apr 7, 2011 at 7:13 PM

    I never said we have the Pudge of 2003, I'm just saying he is still an above average catcher on the defensive side, with only 10 at-bats and limited spring training time he deserves a chance to prove himself offensively. If anything, just to improve his trade value. I never watched Pudge in his heyday with the Rangers, I became a fan when he went to the playoffs with the Marlins, and I was rooting for the Giants at the time.

  27. Jaxpo Nat - Apr 7, 2011 at 7:16 PM

    Bottom line is we are not winning this year. WHY NOT start Ramos? Let him take his knocks now, when it doesn't matter, instead of next season when it might. And anyone who can't tell Pudge is done from about the midway point last season just isn't paying attention. It's not just the small sample THIS season, it's half of last year as well. Pudge is done offensively. Period.

  28. Anonymous - Apr 7, 2011 at 7:26 PM

    Wow, nice diving catch by Nyjer Morgan in right field! Opps, he's now playing for the Milwaukee Brewers. Sorry! Wow, Manny Acta sweeps three games from Big, Bad Boston! Opps, Manny now manages the Cleveland Indians! Sorry! Where are those guys when the Nats need them the most?!?!?! Oh, I know, GONE!

  29. JamesFan - Apr 7, 2011 at 7:29 PM

    I never have understood Rigg's reluctance to play a hot hand over conventional thinking. How can he sit a guy hitting .500 and play a guy who is 0 for the season when the team has shown zip for offense? Sure Pudge needs to get his playing time, but let Ramos cool off first. Further, I don't see any loss of defense with Ramos behind the plate.

  30. Riggs - Apr 7, 2011 at 7:42 PM

    Pudge is catching Ripken fast. Eighteen DPs behind so I think I'll play Pudge until he catches Calvin.

  31. Ron in Reston - Apr 8, 2011 at 5:13 PM

    True, Pudge is a DP machine, averaging 1 DP every 28 ABs, or basically one a week. But let's look at the reat of the top 10: Ripken, Rodriguez, Aaron, Yaz, Winfield, Murray, Rice Franco, Baines, Brooks Robinson. So, other than Franco and Baines, all HOFers, as Pudge will be when he's done. All also have ratios around one DP per 30 ABs or so except Rice, whose ratio of 1 DP every 26 ABs is even worse. So what does this teach us? While Pudge did have more GIDPs last season (25)than he had at any time in his career other than 1999 (32), the fact that he is close to passing Cal is more a product of his longevity (well that and his blazing footspeed) than his inability to hit with men on base. All that being said, I still expect by the end of April, mid May at the very latest, that Ramos will be starting five out of every seven games, or maybe four of seven if Pudge's bat comes to life like it did last April.Ok, done babbling now





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