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Position analysis: Catcher

Oct 17, 2012, 11:00 AM EDT

US Presswire photo
Wilson Ramos expects to return 100 percent after tearing his ACL in May.

As we transition into offseason mode, we'll start by breaking down the Nationals' roster by position (infield, outfield, catcher, rotation and bullpen) this week and examine where things stand at season's end and where things might stand moving forward. Today's position: Catcher…

C WILSON RAMOS
Stats: 25 G, 96 PA, 3 HR, 10 RBI, .265 AVG, .354 OBP, .398 SLG
1 E, 17% CS, 0.6 WAR
2012 salary: $491,250
Contract status: Arbitration-eligible in 2014, free agent in 2017
Where he fits in: In his second full year in the big leagues, Ramos looked poised to breakout as one of the game's best young catchers. But his season ended in abrupt fashion May 12 in Cincinnati when he tore the ACL in his right knee, leaving him to start all over again in 2013. The Nationals have every reason to believe Ramos will return 100 percent healthy and pick up where he left off, but there are no guarantees. With Kurt Suzuki now in the fold as well, the club may ease Ramos back into playing shape and have the two split time behind the plate.

C KURT SUZUKI
Stats (w/WSH only): 43 G, 164 PA, 5 HR, 25 RBI, .267 AVG, .321 OBP, .404 SLGRead more »

114 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. mick - Oct 17, 2012 at 11:07 AM

    Both Wilson and Kurt can be used and both can be kept fresh throughout the season. The issue would be, who plays in post season? Clearly they both would be used in pinch hitting roles in any playoff game. I would say when Gio pitches, Kurt gets the nod.All the Nats problems (if one wants to call them that) are good. Last year at this time, I posted that as well, that the problems the Nats have are all good and 20 plus MLB teams would beg for such problems

  2. sjm308 - Oct 17, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    Wow, are we loaded at this position!I am just a fan but to my eye, I thought Suzuki was a slightly better defensive catcher than Ramos. I am not saying Ramos was a negative, I just thought Suzuki blocked balls and had a better arm. I also liked how quickly he learned our pitching staff which had to be fairly tough.To me, the big question is how will Ramos handle it if he has to split time. If he is slow to recover then its not a problem. If these two can actually split time, I am not sure what that does to the chemistry of the team and the pitching staff. I guess its easy to adjust to a different catcher but like I said, this is from a fan's perspective and I honestly have no answer.Hard to think that Flores won't be packaged with others to bring either that #5 starter people have been talking about or maybe something special (you go Rizzo!!).Go Nats!!Oh, Mick – you do realize that summer stuff was just to supplement that huge salary the University of Maryland was paying me right?? I never could figure out why other coaches didn't have a 2nd job.

  3. Constant Reader - Oct 17, 2012 at 11:46 AM

    I can't fathom non-tendering Flores. For what little money (not my money of course) it would take to keep him, he becomes another piece in a trade package over the winter. If he lights up winter ball, he'll be of value to some catching-poor team. One thing I haven't considered is if we are squeezed on the 40-man. Non-tendering him makes sense if we need the 40-man slot for someone who could be Rule 5'd. Has someone already done the 40-man analysis and I missed it?

  4. Gonat - Oct 17, 2012 at 11:48 AM

    You have to give Flores a contract and trade him.

  5. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Oct 17, 2012 at 11:58 AM

    Zook clear-cut No. 1 at the position. I don't see Ramos at full strength until at least mid-season. That was a nasty knee injury.I was Kid Flores' biggest booster at year ago. Now I don't see any place for him, other than trade bait when packaged with a surplus outfielder. By himself, he doesn't have much trade value.

  6. Gonat - Oct 17, 2012 at 11:58 AM

    I was disturbed to read the quote on the Sports Bog from Bob Brenley on Suzuki at the time Storen was pitching to Molina “That’s the second first-pitch slider that Storen has thrown in this inning that looked to be a strike,” color man Bob Brenly added. “Just didn’t get the call. And didn’t get a real good job from his catcher receiving the pitch.”Since Brenley made that comment at the time it happened and not after the game and Steinberg reviewed the videotape, it sounds like at the most critical time Suzuki didn't do a great job.There are so many aspects to being a catcher and I thought Suzuki was a huge upgrade over Flores.

  7. Faraz Shaikh - Oct 17, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    I agree that non-tendering Flores makes sense if we are out of room on 40-man roster. Otherwise, keep him stashed in minors if he can't be traded after arbitration.

  8. Jimmy - Oct 17, 2012 at 12:13 PM

    A Ramos/Suzuki platoon in 2013 seems most likely. Knee injuries have long recovery times, especially when the person recovering is going to be in the crouch all the time. Ramos has too much proven upside to lose his starting job outright after the injury. Suzuki was a great get. Another hat tip to Rizzo for pulling off that trade after the deadline.

  9. hiramhover - Oct 17, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    GonatI read that too, and thought "meh." Yes, catchers need to frame pitches as best they can, but the fact is, it was a strike. The ump screwed up the call (for second time that inning), , and Brenley was making excuses for him.As for Flores–I can't see non-tendering him. There's no guarantee Ramos will be good to go at the beginning of the season. Better to sign and trade Flores if/when he becomes expendable, no?

  10. Faraz Shaikh - Oct 17, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    The last time JV pitched less than 110 pitches in a game was September 8. Since then he has pitched at least 110 pitches every single game, every fifth or sixth day. Except that one start, all season long he has consistently thrown 100 and more pitches, ranging from 102 to 132. And in 9 of these starts, he went 120 and more. either this guy is the greatest pitcher we are seeing or he is about to blow something.

  11. natsfan1a - Oct 17, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    I don't do armchair GM stuff but I liked the Zuk pickup at the time and I still do.On another note:(a) I don't give a rat's patoot what a TBS color guy (or anyone else, for that matter) said, whether it was before, during, or after the game. I'm confident that those of us who saw it are quite capable of judging for ourselves.(b) We're still talking about the game? Yawn. Wake me up when it's over.

  12. MicheleS - Oct 17, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    My only hope for next year with the Catchers is that there are no injuries next year and that the same 2 guys that are on the roster at the beginning of the year are the same throughout the entire year.

  13. natsfan1a - Oct 17, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    Oh, and (c) Zuk played in 43 regular season and 5 postseason games for the Nats. Maybe judge him behind the dish based on more than the one at-bat? Just a thought.

  14. Gonat - Oct 17, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    hiramhover, good points on both but I give Brenly credit for immediately pointing that out. The catcher position is so complicated. Flores just didn't do the job. We were so fortunate to get Suzuki and the last 3 weeks he came through many times with clutch hits – BONUS!No way you let JFlo walk. Need to tender him a contract and trade him in a package. He makes a very good backup catcher and I would think better than many in the league but he just showed he can't hold up to playing everyday. Its not a knock against him and he would be here if Ramos didn't get injured.With Suzuki, Ramos can ease back at his own pace. Its a great situation for Davey to have and with any luck the Nats can get a good trade for JFlo.

  15. CoverageisLacking - Oct 17, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    I think Suzuki enters 2013 as the clear-cut #1. Mark's analysis ignores that before his injury, Ramos was having a really tough time behind the plate, and his poor D was becoming an issue: not blocking pitches, not making throws to 2nd, not handling plays at the plate cleanly. Unfortunately, a serious knee injury for a catcher is only likely to make his defensive problems more pronounced.Here's hoping that Wilson can get back to top form in 2013, but I can't see Rizzo and Davey just handing him the starting job on a team with championship aspirations; he is going to need to show that he can do better than he did in 2012, not just that he is "recovered" from his knee injury.

  16. Dave - Oct 17, 2012 at 12:54 PM

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  17. Dave - Oct 17, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    This plethora of catchers is a most excellent problem to have.I really liked Suzuki behind the dish, but I don't think we ever really saw Wilson get fully ramped up after his very traumatic off-season. I would bet that they'll split catching duties about 50-50 until the All-Star break.I think Jesus is good enough that they tender him a contract (if there's space on the 40-man) and trade him. I'd hate to see him just walk. I remember how the Nats robbed the Mets blind by taking Jesus in the rule 5 draft a few years ago (2007?).The TBS announcers were generally idiots during the NLDS. Enough said.I will watch the NLCS with high hopes that the Giants bury the arrogant and mouthy Cardinals by taking all the games in Busch Stadium. After reading anti-Nats comments by several Cardinals players and a snarky piece by a St. Louis writer, I want to see the Cards have to experience the other team celebrating on their own field–just like our guys had to do early Saturday morning.

  18. Kevin Booker - Oct 17, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    @sjm308 There's no question Suzuki is a better defensive catcher. Your eye is correct.

  19. Tcostant - Oct 17, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    I have to believe that Flores will be traded this offseason. He was great with my kids on one of those Sunday's when players signed. I'm miss him, he held us together before the Suzuki trade' but Suzuki and Ramos are just better.

  20. Bzl. - Oct 17, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    I agree on Zook being the better defensive catcher. I think it's his job to lose, and that's not considering that Wilson's recovery might not be a sure thing, given the type of injury for a catcher.Shame to see Flo go, but it probably does happen, in some fashion.

  21. mick - Oct 17, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    LOL coach!!

  22. Feel Wood - Oct 17, 2012 at 1:22 PM

    Assuming both Ramos and Suzuki are healthy, there won't be a spot on the Nationals' roster for Flores. That makes him a prime trade candidate, or — if a deal can't be worked out — a potential non-tender candidate before the Nov. 30 deadline.For the same reason that Lannan won't be traded before the non-tender deadline, neither will Flores. If another team wants him, they'll just wait it out to see if they can pick him up as a FA after he's non-tendered. But unlike Lannan, there's virtually no possibility of Flores being non-tendered. Even with arbitration, he comes cheap. And the Nats will want to keep him as insurance until they know for sure that Ramos has recovered fully. So no trade of Flores is likely until late in spring training at the earliest. He surely has options left, so he could be stashed in AAA until he is either needed as a trade chip or to fill in because of injury. He could easily be the John Lannan of 2013.

  23. Theophilus T. S. - Oct 17, 2012 at 1:24 PM

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  24. Theophilus T. S. - Oct 17, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    Re: Brenly, however right he may have been, I can't blame a catcher if an umpire blows two pitches in an inning. I have my doubts about Ramos's ability to bounce back immediately and, on my dark days, I wonder if he ever will. (See, e.g., Willingham.) However, that doesn't dictate keeping Flores if they get a decent offer for him. If Ramos takes until June to recover fully (fingers crossed) either Leon or Soltano would be an acceptable one-day-a-week substitute for Suzuki. There are a lot of stiffs serving as backup catchers (apologies to Wil Nieves) and could tolerate one of the kids hitting .186 for part of the season. What I haven't seen mentioned is the urgency for the Nats to improve their caught stealing percentage. Most of us agree much of this is a problem w/ lackadaisical pitchers w/ lousy moves and slow times to the plate. In the NLDS we saw Cardinals pitchers doing a much better job of holding runners on (not to mention, throwing strikes). But each caught-stealing ends with a catch-and-shoot. If I were the Nats (and there was no union contract) I'd move the Catchers & Pitchers report date up to February 5 and make 'em spend the ten extra days working on their moves to 1B.

  25. Muddy - Oct 17, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    Craig Manuel from Rice had offensive numbers similar to Kieboom's at Auburn and probably should be mentioned along with him. Neither slugged much at Auburn. Both need more offense to get a sniff of The Show.

  26. A DC Wonk - Oct 17, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    Mark's analysis ignores that before his injury, Ramos was having a really tough time behind the plateHuh? Ramos hit .267 (pretty darn few Nats were hitting that high on May 12). And not once did Ramos ever have two consecutive hitless games. That's a solid mark of consistency, even more so for a catcher who was only 24.

  27. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 17, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    Catcher defense starts with calling the game and being on the same page as your pitcher.Ramos needs to improve at receiving throws from the outfielders.The 2 year internship Ramos got from Pudge is what will make Ramos the best catcher in the NL and like Brian McCann feared in the batters box.

  28. JamesFan - Oct 17, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    Before he was hurt, I thought Ramos needed another year behind an experienced catcher to reach his potential. He was struggling in many departments. Now we have that situation. He should be back up to Suzuki next year for both health and experience reasons.I have always been a Flores fan. The shoulder injury was devastating. I know it's a business, but remember, he was the man behind the plate day after day during the bulk of the 2012 season and it wore him out. Can't argue with putting him in a trade. Just shows how fragile a career can be in the MLs.

  29. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 17, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    DC Wonk, more impressive was that .354 OBP and that clutch hitting. He had 2 memorable walkoff and the day he was injured crushed a HR and looked to be getting his power stroke back.Suzuki did great here but Ramos will be the better catcher for this team.Nothing wrong with 2 #1s.

  30. Feel Wood - Oct 17, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    Mark's analysis ignores that before his injury, Ramos was having a really tough time behind the plateHuh? Ramos hit .267 (pretty darn few Nats were hitting that high on May 12). And not once did Ramos ever have two consecutive hitless games. That's a solid mark of consistency, even more so for a catcher who was only 24.None of that helped his performance in the squat, as the OP pointed out. He was pretty bad there. The extra weight he put on in the offseason, although understandable given the stress of being kidnapped, didn't help either. Will he be able to slim down after being on crutches for so long? Remains to be seen.

  31. Theophilus T. S. - Oct 17, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    For what it's worth, I was a little disappointed w/ Ramos's 25-game performance. In addition to his (shared responsibility) CS percentage he had more than an couple PBs, and it looked like he must have eaten a lot of comfort food after his kidnapping. He was looking a lot more like Carlos Maldonado and less like Flores. I think there ought to be a rule prohibiting catchers from carrying more than 230 lbs plus gear.

  32. Steady Eddie - Oct 17, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    The talent is so good here, not much room or reason for disagreement. The only uncertainty is as to how strongly Wilson can come back after such an injury to such a stressed area for a catcher. Agree with most folks here that if Wilson comes back as well as can be hoped, that a roughly 50-50 split is probably the best way to ease him in, maybe each taking 2 out of 3 games in successive series.Also agree that we should sign and trade JFlo, optimally in a package. It's not impossible that JFlo could become a starting catcher for some teams — he's still relatively young (turning 28 next week) and wore down this year possibly because he had played a TOTAL of only 59 games in the past THREE seasons. The most he's ever played in MLB was 90 games in 2008, and got 59 RBIs in only 301 ABs. His arm this past season was not what it was in 2007-2009, before his injury, but it's not impossible that it still needs more building back up and is not all it can ever be. So given the state of backup catchers around MLB, he'd be a solid choice for a lot of folks and a possibility to become a starter. JFlo is a good guy and gave all he could to this team, and I hope for his sake that he can go somewhere he can at least be in a competition to start. The great thing about where this team is at is that while we could likely get a player of value for a one-for-one trade of JFlo, that's only worth doing for a solid prospect rather than anyone we would need for the 25 man roster. Combined in a trade package, JFlo could add real value and not be anything like a PTBNL.

  33. Theophilus T. S. - Oct 17, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    Didn't I read somewhere the Nats were going to convert former NCAA HR leader Brandon Miller to catcher?

  34. hiramhover - Oct 17, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    I agree that Suzuki is a solid defense catcher, and a surer bet than Ramos at this point (given their relative experience and Ramos' injury). But Wilson wasn't as bad at the beginning of the season as some folks seem to be remembering. Neither he nor Kurt was very good at throwing out baserunners, but Ramos was actually marginally better (17% vs 15% CS). Wilson had the misfortune of catching MPHRod early on, but still had a lower percentage of WP+PB overall.

  35. Joe Seamhead - Oct 17, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    Funny, I see it differently then most of you. I thought Suzuki did an amazing job. Ramos pre-injury dropped a couple of perfect pegs from the OF, and did not seem to have the agility on plays that required a quick turn and tag on throws on his right side. I still see him as a #1 if he makes a full recovery. That said, I actually consider two #1's to be too much of a good thing at that position. If Wilson is healthy, I would consider trading one of them if a club in need of a catcher could offer us a great value. We have plenty of riches in the backup spot.

  36. Steady Eddie - Oct 17, 2012 at 2:08 PM

    hh — It's pretty futile trying to distinguish between Ramos and JFlo's ability to prevent WPs from the HRod of this past season. More important is what Steve pointed out, the ability to catch, hold, and apply the tag on throws to the plate that were in time to get the runner. This past season, JFlo was better at that than Ramos, and KSuz was better still. That's at least as much a priority for Wilson to work on as throwing out steal attempts, especially as (everyone appropriately points out) with this team, that's more a function of what the pitchers do to hold them on or not.

  37. Steady Eddie - Oct 17, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    Joe — "We have plenty of riches in the backup spot."Not that's MLB-ready for a team in a pennant race or postseason. That's why Rizzo went out and got KSuz this year, knowing he came with a big contract for 2013. Maybe by 2014 Solano or Leon are ready to become Wilson's backup, but not in 2013. The reality is that we don't have two #1s ready to play full time this next year. Hopefully Wilson can do that in 2014 but even under the most optimistic recovery projections for him this year, you don't want a catcher coming back from that kind and severity of injury to play much more than half-time at best. Even if he feels he could handle it, the risk of overuse next year potentially ending his career is too great. Assuming (big assumption, but let's be optimistic here) Ramos is 100% for a full season in 2014 AND that Solano or Leon are ready to become a backup for a contending team, then we just don't pick up KSuz's (team) option for 2014. Meanwhile, we have insurance against the risk that one or both of those assumptions don't play out. That's what consistently contending teams need to have (just like they have backup players like Lombo who are good enough to start for most teams. Along with Rendon, he's also insurance against the chance that Danny never disciplines his stroke.)

  38. Joe Seamhead - Oct 17, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    Whoever catches, I would sure like to see the catcher be more aggressive with throws down to 1B to help the pitchers hold runners and to establish that we no longer are just going to give a runner second. In that respect, holding the runners, I have a hard time remembering a worse MLB team then the Nats were this year.

  39. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 17, 2012 at 2:20 PM

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  40. hiramhover - Oct 17, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    SteadyAs I said, Suzuki is the better defensive catcher at this point and the surer bet. You and the others are right about what Wilson needs to work on. But some commenters above were dinging Wilson not just on the plays at the plate, but the other things I mentioned as well–which is why I mentioned them.Wilson is under team control for a lot longer and at a lot lower price than Suzuki, so I'm rooting for his return at 100% and his improvement of those other aspects of his game.

  41. Joe Seamhead - Oct 17, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    If Ramos isn't ready, then keep JFlo as your #2, Eddie.

  42. Traveler8 - Oct 17, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    Nice letter in the Washington Post today from Adam LaRoche's parents, you may want to check it out.

  43. phil dunton - Oct 17, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    I was not impressed with Ramos' defense behind the plate this season. He has trouble holding onto the ball and tagging runners on plays at the plate. I like Suzuki–he hits in the clutch and is a superior defensive catcher.

  44. slidell2 - Oct 17, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    Wilson absolutely needs to come to ST healthy and in prime condition. Some of his 2012 defensive problems might be attributable to extra poundage. For 2013, excess weight would affect the knee issue and slow progress to full recovery. If he's in shape AND sharp, the starting job is his.

  45. John C. - Oct 17, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    I fall right in line with the overall consensus: Ramos and Suzuki will battle for the #1 job, with Ramos the favorite if healthy because he has more upside. But Suzuki may have more now. I will say that the one hole in Ramos's game that has always bugged me is his inability to handle throws from the OF. Even a good throw he's no better than 50/50 to handle it cleanly. But that should be correctable, and the other aspects of his game are good.Mark when doing these reviews it would be helpful to include the minor league option status of the players. Just a thought :)

  46. Steady Eddie - Oct 17, 2012 at 2:33 PM

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  47. Steady Eddie - Oct 17, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    Joe — I expect — and certainly hope — it's not a matter of Ramos not being able to play at all, or needing some rehab time in the minors. If that's the case, then you're looking at a situation like we had this past year, for at least early in the 2013 season, and you do keep JFlo until Ramos can get back to the team. But the FO, presumably reading signals they're getting from the doctors, are expecting Ramos to be back for at least some significant % of starts next year. If there's any doubt about that, maybe you do what FeelWood suggested and keep JFlo into spring training to see where Ramos is. But assuming Ramos can start at least 25% of the time if not more, then you can't keep three catchers into the regular season. At the worst, you make a call on Ramos' condition based on how he looks in spring training.

  48. MicheleS - Oct 17, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    I am going to give Wilson a pass on the time that he played this season. Does he need to improve on stuff? Yes, but so do the pitchers on the pick off move.Also, I think either Mark or Amanda had a story after Wilson had his surgery that Wilson knew he needed to drop some weight. I hope he stays here in the states this off season and does his rehab here.

  49. Steady Eddie - Oct 17, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    MicheleS — re Ramos' recovery, absolutely. I remember reading the same thing, and also that he had bought a house in the States (not sure if it was in the DC area or more likely Florida) and was bringing his mom up to help him with his recovery. I would be astonished if the team wasn't having nutritionists working with her to get him nutritionally appropriate comfort food.I think he'll be fine on that score — dropping weight and staying in shape as much as he can with his rehab limits. Maybe it was just hopeful thinking on my part, but I seem to recall that when Wilson was in the dugout in late summer, he didn't look quite as chunky as in April.

  50. Theophilus T. S. - Oct 17, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    Ramos must (1) get healthy; (2) lose about 40 lbs.; (3) learn how to make the swipe tag w/out getting run over (which Flores demonstrated the day after Ramos went down, if I recall); (4) learn to block pitches (maybe related to No. 2, above); (5) throw out runners. Those are a lot of conditions. So we need to see a lot before making assumptions about who is the better catcher and whose option should be picked up. Presumably the FO will be looking for the same things and make the right decisions. Once you've climbed the mountain, and announced you intend to remain there, you can't quibble about spending a few extra million here and there.

  51. 5c3cd06e-cef8-11e1-abe6-000bcdcb2996 - Oct 17, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    Zooki is the obvious number one going into next season. Prior to his injury Ramos was allowing a lot of passed balls and not catching balls thrown from the OF for tag outs. Calling him a catcher is a misnomer.

  52. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 17, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    Steady Eddie, well said. Ramos is very good in all aspects and emphasis has to be on receiving throws and applying tags.He wasn't good at that in 2011 either. With the outfield arms this team has with Bryce and Werth, it's an area of emphasis.

  53. Steady Eddie - Oct 17, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    Steve — Yep, not only Harp and Werth's great arms — also the relay arms of Desi and especially Danny.

  54. MicheleS - Oct 17, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    Eddie, Kilgore just posted his piece. Has Ramos down 10 lbs so far.

  55. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 17, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    John C. said… I fall right in line with the overall consensus: Ramos and Suzuki will battle for the #1 job, with Ramos the favorite if healthy because he has more upside. But Suzuki may have more now. I will say that the one hole in Ramos's game that has always bugged me is his inability to handle throws from the OF. Even a good throw he's no better than 50/50 to handle it cleanly. But that should be correctable, and the other aspects of his game are good.Mark when doing these reviews it would be helpful to include the minor league option status of the players. Just a thought :) I agree with the Ramos potential but I don't see any rush annointing a #1 at this point as you really should have the two #1's kind of like picking your favorite kid.Ramos is the future of catching here and it was Suzuki who got motivated when he got here and showed he actually could hit.When you keep your catchers fresh, you will get better production. Davey and McCatty will figure it out and Rizzo has said time and time again that Ramos is his catcher. It doesn't mean Ramos will play 4 or 5 games a week in April because the best one in Spring Training and as the season progresses should get the bulk of the time.

  56. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 17, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    Steady Eddie said… Steve — Yep, not only Harp and Werth's great arms — also the relay arms of Desi and especially Danny. October 17, 2012 11:23 AM Thanks for pointing that out. Very true.

  57. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 17, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    MicheleS said… Eddie, Kilgore just posted his piece. Has Ramos down 10 lbs so far. October 17, 2012 11:26 AM Thanks for posting that. I saw him in the dugout on Wednesday and he looked trimmer. Couldn't tell if he was down 10 or 20 lbs.Lets face it, he was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress after his kidnapping and his Madre was home cooking for him and certainly packed on some extra LBs.Wilson be nimble…Wilson be quick…Wilson jump over the baseball stick.Probably my favorite player from strictly a personal point of view given what he has endured in his life.

  58. natsfan1a - Oct 17, 2012 at 3:37 PM

    Link to LaRoche letter.

  59. peric - Oct 17, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    It could also depend on who has options and who does not. Ramos could be sent to AAA to work his knee back into shape catching games on a consistent basis. Flores probably should be traded or non-tendered and Solano given a shot.

  60. Diz - Oct 17, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    Looking at their play this season, I thought Zuk had much better lateral movement around the plate. He must have blocked 100+ balls in the dirt in that 5 game series and only had the one Gio-gyro get to the backstop.If Ramos was there, I think the staff has 20 more wild pitches that series.

  61. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 17, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    natsfan1a said… Link to LaRoche letter. October 17, 2012 11:37 AMThis is great:They simply stood and applauded. Some even remained afterward to thank the players as they left the parking lot. Thank you, Nationals owners, employees and fans, for a night we will never forget.One of the most amazing parts of the playoff run and as the LaRoche's pointed out, fans have been enthusiastic and loyal outside the players parking lot.As was written last week after the blowout loss on Wednesday, fans were outside the players lot when Detwiler, his fiance and parents headed to their car (Ross was to pitch Thursday) and the crowd went into a spontaneous and simultaneous cheer.I would love to know how Ross and his family felt to get that applause like the LaRoche felt after Friday.This is a special fanbase and I'm not talking the bandwagon newbies, I'm talking the passionate people that have been there since the doldrum days of 100 loss seasons.It is so special to read what the LaRoche's took their time to write and this is why the Nats and Adam need to come to terms. Adam got paid millions for a wasted season in 2011 and probably was worth the entire contract for what he did in 2012. I know the Nats will give him 2 years, but my hopes is they give him 3 years to the point that maybe LaRoche will join Werth and Zim and make DC his home base where his kids can stay in school here and make Washington their home. That is an important trend towards the future here.Maybe you can't hunt Elk or Moose or whatever he hunts but there is plenty of deer here to keep LaRoche busy in the off-season.

  62. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 17, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    Jason Giambi is a candidate for the Rockies manager position. Giambi has never been a coach or manager at any level.I suggested DeRosa as Bo's replacement at 3rd base would be a great idea. Some said he has no experience. Well if players like Giambi can be considered as a managerial candidate, surely a smart guy like DeRosa could be a 3rd base coach with no coaching experience.

  63. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 17, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    Diz said… Looking at their play this season, I thought Zuk had much better lateral movement around the plate. He must have blocked 100+ balls in the dirt in that 5 game series and only had the one Gio-gyro get to the backstop.If Ramos was there, I think the staff has 20 more wild pitches that series. October 17, 2012 12:06 PM Blocked 100+ balls in Game 5? Aren't you exaggerating by a lot?That's like saying if LaRoche isn't playing 1st base RZim has 20 more throwing errors.Doubtful. Suzuki is a good defensive catcher. You are entitled to your opinion on projecting Wild Pitches but that's just ridiculous to think it would be +20

  64. Section 222 - Oct 17, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    Ghost, your fingers are flying ahead of your reading comprehension. Diz said 100+ pitches in the five game series. That's only 20 per game (less than 3 per inning), which might be a little high, but not by much. I think you're probably right that Ramos doesn't miss 20 of them, but it's definitely true that Zuke was a big improvement for us on defense. As for how many errors LaRoche saved Zim, maybe it's not 20 but over the course of the season, it's probably 10 don't you think? That's only 1 for every 14 games that Zim played, or 1 out of every 28 assists that Zim had. These things add up over the course of the year.

  65. MicheleS - Oct 17, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    Ghost.. doesn't sound like DeRo is ready to hang it up yet.

  66. sjm308 - Oct 17, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    Ghost – agree with you on DeRosa. I was one who said he might gain experience in the minors first but did not say it was mandatory. It would be great to have him back.

  67. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 17, 2012 at 4:30 PM

    Section, I have game 5 on my brain but still meant 100+ in a 5 game series seems like a lot. There didn't seem to be any more than usual is my point.

  68. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Oct 17, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    Thanks 1a for the LaRoche parents' letter link. I can only hope now that Adam's father is his agent. Maybe there's hope he stays.

  69. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 17, 2012 at 4:33 PM

    I like Mark's analysis better of Flores and FWIW, here's Kilgore on Flores: Flores, who is eligible for arbitration, appears to be on his way out. The Nationals will almost certainly not tender Flores a contract, cutting ties with a player that’s been in their organization since they chose him from the Mets in the 2006 Rule 5 draft. Flores was once one of the Nationals’ most promising young players, but ever since a foul tip in 2009 led to a torn labrum he hasn’t been the same.The Nats should sign him to a 1 year deal to keep relative control. Yes, its a gamble if they had to go to arbitration but to non-tender him and give him away when he is worst case trade bait? I guess it could happen.

  70. Kevin FSU - Oct 17, 2012 at 4:33 PM

    If only we could combine Wilsons Bat with Kurts defense. Love the Onion but I also remember the balls that got passed him that Kurt or Wilson would have gotten to (pitcher could be at fault on that as well). I totally agree with Michele S that our pitchers need to improve on their pick-off moves, or at least their pick off glares. John Kruck could have stolen a bag on our boys.

  71. rmoore446 - Oct 17, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    Ghost of Steve–I agree with you on considering DeRosa as Bo's replacement as third base coach. Would love to have him around next year as he is such a positive force in the clubhouse and with young players.

  72. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 17, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    MicheleS said… Ghost.. doesn't sound like DeRo is ready to hang it up yet. October 17, 2012 12:29 PM He ended up below Mendoza and showed no power and limited range as a defender. The best he will get is a Spring Training invite in my opinion.Unfortunately the end is here for DeRo. He can have a bright future in coaching and maybe broadcasting if people outside of NYY/NYM can accept that slight Jersey twang he has.One thing I know universally is that everywhere DeRo has played he has been a great teammate and his clubhouse knowledge and leadership is coach-worthy.Remember FP left his playing days to be a batting coach and then later got into broadcasting.I wish DeRo luck and would really like to see him in some coaching or F.O. capacity with this team.

  73. MicheleS - Oct 17, 2012 at 4:45 PM

    Ghost agree with you, but the player in DeRo may not want to give up since he spent most of this dealing with Injuries or with his Father's death. And he was great on MLB Network.

  74. Mickey Vernon - Oct 17, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    I like Ramos, but he has two things to work on before he fulfills his potential. Defensively, he needs to learn to field throws, apply the the tag, and hold onto the ball. Offensively, he needs to move closer to the plate so he can make more consistent and solid contact with balls on the outer corner. Suzuki doesn't have such holes in his game.

  75. Brother Juniper - Oct 17, 2012 at 5:01 PM

    I'd love to see the Nats keep Suzuki, Ramos, and Flores for the time being as insurance against injury. I must be in the minority, but I think that Flores (pre-injury) was alot better than Ramos (both behind and at the plate). I'd love to see Flores come back strong. But I do like Suzuki better than either of them. I really develop a good bit of loyalty to anyone who wears that curly W – glad I don't have to make decisions on who to keep – we'd need more than a 40 man roster.

  76. Feel Wood - Oct 17, 2012 at 5:07 PM

    I suggested DeRosa as Bo's replacement at 3rd base would be a great idea. Some said he has no experience. Well if players like Giambi can be considered as a managerial candidate, surely a smart guy like DeRosa could be a 3rd base coach with no coaching experience.For a team going nowhere soon, like the Rockies, sure. But pennant winning teams generally go for coaches with experience, and there is a large pool of them to choose from. Let DeRosa earn his stripes and pay his coaching dues in the minors, like Matt LeCroy and so many other recently-retired big leaguers are.

  77. Section 222 - Oct 17, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    I'm with Feel/pRAA on this one. Just because a guy is a fan favorite, doesn't mean he should leap frog coaches who have been paying their dues in the minors waiting for a chance move up. Plus, who says DeRo would be interesting in coaching now anyway. Remember all the folks who wanted to sign Pudge as a coach? These guys have lots of options.

  78. Diz - Oct 17, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    Ghost, I was being a little facetious when I said 100+ and 20, but there were sequences when Gio was pitching to a single batter that he would throw 3 curve balls in the dirt that Zuk would end up having to block. In game 1 and game 5.Now with Ramos, I had been talking to guys that I play baseball with in the spring and we all noticed that Ramos was having a more difficult time with his foot work, especially with balls off the plate. There were two games this spring (I don't recall the exact ones) that we thought he cost us runs and eventually the game with that lack of foot speed and technique. Wild Pitches that really could have been call Passed Balls.Kurt was exceptional during the NLDS doing his jump slide and getting his body in front and knocking those balls down. The pitching staff was not good in that series and there were an abnormally large number of balls that did not make 60'6" or were "not even close".Ramos is the future of the Nats and has a much greater upside, but I worry with his defense, in my opinion, seemingly digressing from the year before, that this major injury is not going to help any. And as a catcher, your knees are so important to play the position well.

  79. NatsLady - Oct 17, 2012 at 5:21 PM

    The letter made me cry.Letter to the EditorThe Nationals — a class actPublished: October 16Washington Nationals’ organization, you are a class act. Your dedication to our military is unlike any we ever have seen, and the effort you put toward making the playoffs memorable cannot be described.Watching your fans behave with such dignity when the Nats’ dreams of extending their season came to an end Friday night demonstrated that they, too, are among the elite of this game. There was no booing, nothing thrown on the field.They simply stood and applauded. Some even remained afterward to thank the players as they left the parking lot. Thank you, Nationals owners, employees and fans, for a night we will never forget.Dave and Patty LaRoche, Fort Scott, Kan.The writers are the parents of Washington Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche.

  80. UnkyD - Oct 17, 2012 at 5:21 PM

    RIP… Eddie Yost.

  81. Exposremains - Oct 17, 2012 at 5:32 PM

    Did someone mention this yesterday?Morse is really Willingham 2.0. Power guy, not so good in LF, makes the same amount of money, same age, 1 year from agency. They are really similar. So the question is, did the Nats do the right thing by trading him? Morse in a trade would get you the same return and he might go hit 30Hrs and 100 RBI. My thinking is that if they traded Willingham, they will trade Morse.

  82. Dave - Oct 17, 2012 at 5:36 PM

    Sorry to hear about Eddie Yost. I must sheepishly confess that I know about him just from Phil Wood's nightly sign-off. A former Senator who led the league in walks six seasons. RIP.

  83. baseballswami - Oct 17, 2012 at 5:47 PM

    Saw the LaRoche letter. So nice. I am proud that in the midst of a painful loss there were fans gracious enough to express appreciation. I hope it shows players that this is a good place to play. Question– isn't keeping runners on first and preventing stealing on the pitchers mostly?

  84. Feel Wood - Oct 17, 2012 at 5:49 PM

    Dave said… Sorry to hear about Eddie Yost. I must sheepishly confess that I know about him just from Phil Wood's nightly sign-off.EddieYost, Eddie Yost.Too soon?

  85. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 17, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    Diz, thanks! Agree with you.

  86. A DC Wonk - Oct 17, 2012 at 6:09 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  87. A DC Wonk - Oct 17, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  88. A DC Wonk - Oct 17, 2012 at 6:12 PM

    (third time's the charm?)CoverageisLacking said…Mark's analysis ignores that before his injury, Ramos was having a really tough time behind the plateI want to apologize to CoverageisLacking. I was reading quickly and thought he wrote "having a tough time _at_ the plate", which is why my response (which began with "Huh?") cited only batting statistics.Sorry, CoverageisLacking!Not only that, but I agree. Many of us here were complaining a bit about his defense (particularly the dropped throws on plays at the plate, if I recall correctly)

  89. sjm308 - Oct 17, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    This is a sad day. When your favorite player as a youngster passes. He celebrated his 86th birthday on Oct. 13th. I loved watching him play 3rd base and you could write his name in as leadoff for our Senators from 1947 until 1958. His last year in Washington he played in 134 games and at that time had the 2nd longest playing streak since Lou Gehrig with 829 games(others have it at 838) He played for 13 seasons in Washington before ending his career with the Tigers & LA Angels. Both he & my son received Masters degrees from NYU. RIP "the walking man".

  90. Pilchard - Oct 17, 2012 at 6:49 PM

    Ramos injury sounded very severe. Far from a given that he will be 100% by Spring Training as ligament injuries often required more than a year to fully rehab. Also, catcher is not a position that can be effectively played if your knees are less than 100%. I think that the Nats need to re-sign Flores to plan for the real possibility that Ramos will not be major league ready by next April.If Ramos is ready to go in April, Flores has enough trade value so that Nats won't be throwing case down the drain if Flores is not needed at all for the start of the 2013 season. Also, by 2014, Sandy Leon may be the best catcher in the Nats organization. He has always been considered an elite defensive catcher, and he has improved offensively each year (hitting over .300 this year). Adept fielding switch-hitting catchers are a rare commodity. He could be special.

  91. Theophilus T. S. - Oct 17, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    Eddie Yost had two great seasons w/ Detroit, which is what I remember. When he retired he was No. 5 on the all-time BBs list. Remarkable for a guy who never had much power — except that, at the end of his career, he held the major league record for most lead-off HR (28). Only an All-Star once, for which there was no excuse.

  92. A DC Wonk - Oct 17, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    Being an NL fan my whole life, I don't know the history of Eddie Yost like y'all do.But I do know him as the third-base coach of the Mets from 1968 to 1976 — which included that famed 1969 season — and have fond memories of him from that time period.Gil Hodges, who managed the Senators from 63-67 presumably brought Eddie with him when he started to manage the Mets in 68

  93. Section 109 DC - Oct 17, 2012 at 7:22 PM

    Natsfan1a (11:37) and NatsLady (1:21), thank you so much for posting Adam's parents' letter. Totally made my day.

  94. Theophilus T. S. - Oct 17, 2012 at 8:12 PM

    Does the letter from LaRoche's parents mean he won't sign with Philadelphia?

  95. Theophilus T. S. - Oct 17, 2012 at 8:27 PM

    Read Kilgore's article and it came to me that both Soltano and Leon are on the 40-man roster That as much as anything may dictate Flores leaving sooner rather than later. Then, four of the 40 spots will be occupied by catchers, which seems a little inconvenient but those two probably have a better future than a number of people taking up space.

  96. natsfan1a - Oct 17, 2012 at 8:32 PM

    Hat tip to Traveler for the heads up on the letter.Actually, Atlanta was the first thing that came to my mind, what with the throwing things and all. That said, good call. :-) Does the letter from LaRoche's parents mean he won't sign with Philadelphia?

  97. Theophilus T. S. - Oct 17, 2012 at 8:32 PM

    Current 40-man includes five FAs (not counting LaRoche), three on 60-day list, so they have two spots to play with — although by my count there are 3-4 who have no business being there.

  98. Theophilus T. S. - Oct 17, 2012 at 8:40 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  99. Theophilus T. S. - Oct 17, 2012 at 8:42 PM

    Natsfan1a –I moved all of the places LaRoche has already played off his list (Atlanta, Boston, Pittsburgh, Phoenix) thinking he wouldn't want to back to places where he previously wasn't warmly embraced. There are some places that already have an expensive or rapidly rising 1B in place, and some that aren't going to pay major bucks because they don't think they will contend (Houston) or it's not their style (Tampa) so — unless there are trades — I think his market is limited to 6-7 teams.

  100. baseballswami - Oct 17, 2012 at 8:55 PM

    I know some of you are not watching NL games yet, but Beltran has left the game due to an injury and the Giants just went up 1-0.

  101. MicheleS - Oct 17, 2012 at 8:58 PM

    Swami.. I have it on. I am now in the Revenge stage of grief. I bet I have a Giants hat somewhere in the house

  102. baseballswami - Oct 17, 2012 at 9:12 PM

    So Carpenter comes in to replace Beltran and hits a home run?? The Cardinals sure of seem to be leading a charmed life.

  103. djinFl. - Oct 17, 2012 at 9:21 PM

    Carlos Maldonado must have read todays blog. He just chose to become a free agent, along with outfielder Brett Carroll.

  104. djinFl. - Oct 17, 2012 at 9:26 PM

    This headline is on MLD Daily Dish"Alex Rodriguez trade rumors: New York Yankees talking trade with Miami Marlins?"

  105. djinFl. - Oct 17, 2012 at 9:29 PM

    "MLB Daily Dish"

  106. natsfan1a - Oct 17, 2012 at 10:14 PM

    I've been clicking over periodically, but I only stay on it for the top of the inning. :-)baseballswami said… I know some of you are not watching NL games yet, but Beltran has left the game due to an injury and the Giants just went up 1-0. October 17, 2012 4:55 PM MicheleS said… Swami.. I have it on. I am now in the Revenge stage of grief. I bet I have a Giants hat somewhere in the house October 17, 2012 4:58 PM

  107. natsfan1a - Oct 17, 2012 at 10:15 PM

    Theo, I wasn't seriously ruling out or considering any destinations, but rather musing about fanbases.Theophilus T. S. said… Natsfan1a — I moved all of the places LaRoche has already played off his list (Atlanta, Boston, Pittsburgh, Phoenix) thinking he wouldn't want to back to places where he previously wasn't warmly embraced. There are some places that already have an expensive or rapidly rising 1B in place, and some that aren't going to pay major bucks because they don't think they will contend (Houston) or it's not their style (Tampa) so — unless there are trades — I think his market is limited to 6-7 teams. October 17, 2012 4:42 PM

  108. natsfan1a - Oct 17, 2012 at 10:16 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  109. natsfan1a - Oct 17, 2012 at 10:16 PM

    That said, my compliments on your diligent research. ;-)

  110. natsfan1a - Oct 17, 2012 at 10:17 PM

    I have a Giants BBQ apron, but that would just be weird. :-)MicheleS said… Swami.. I have it on. I am now in the Revenge stage of grief. I bet I have a Giants hat somewhere in the house October 17, 2012 4:58 PM

  111. natsfan1a - Oct 17, 2012 at 10:24 PM

    Oh, and I have some pins as well. Anyhoo…

  112. rmoore446 - Oct 17, 2012 at 10:26 PM

    I bow to the logic others have said here that even if DeRosa wanted the 3rd base coaching spot (which is questionable), it would be bad for the organization to have him leapfrog others who have paid their dues in the minors.

  113. Drew - Oct 18, 2012 at 1:15 AM

    Tonight's AFL update:Rendon goes 2 for 5 with a double, knocks in 3 runs and ups his average to .316.

  114. JSLSais - Oct 19, 2012 at 8:14 PM

    I completely disagree that Ramos has more upside both defensively and offensively than Suzuki. I will even go as far as saying that Flores is a better catcher in terms of catching balls and blocking the plate. I don't see the love affair with Ramos. He is not that good at blocking balls. C the replay of his injury. His fumbling hands caused him to have that injury. The ball wasn't that difficult to catch; it was a very catchable ball, yet he missed catching it. He isn't as nimble as Suzuki or Flores and he is terrified of blocking the plate. I think the boy was suffering from some PTSD from his kidnapping shootout experience and never quite recovered. The only thing I can think of as to why management thinks Ramos is the best option is b/c maybe he does call a good game and that in and of itself is a great upside. Maybe he will recover from his injury and PTSD and be a great catcher but from what I have seen, I am not convinced.

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