Nov 12, 2013, 1:05 PM EST
Age on Opening Day 2014: 28
How acquired: Signed as amateur free agent, Sept. 2005
MLB service time: 1 year, 27 days
2013 salary+bonuses: N/A
Contract status: Arbitration-eligible in 2016, free agent in 2019
2013 Stats: 24 G, 50 PA, 48 AB, 2 R, 7 H, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 7 SO, .146 BA, .180 OBP, .188 SLG, .368 OPS, -0.4 WAR
2013 analysis: Jhonatan Solano had three separate stints in Washington during the 2013 season, but appeared in just 24 games. That’s because even with Wilson Ramos out for the first two call-ups, the Nats preferred to keep Solano as the backup on the bench. As a result, Solano only appeared in 64 games this year across the major leagues and Triple-A Syracuse. For much of the year he was basically watching from the Nats’ dugout.
The dropoff when Solano started was clear from even Kurt Suzuki as the Nats went 4-8 in games ‘The Onion’ started. He caught 12 games as the starter and batted just .125 with a .296 OPS. It was a bit of a tough assignment for Solano, however, given his inconsistent playing time all season.
2014 outlook: Solano will be back next year, but likely at Syracuse to start the season. The Nats are going to need a backup catcher to spell Ramos and Solano may not be quite the caliber backstop they want in that role. He is solid defensively, but doesn’t bring much to the table on offense. His .247 career average in the minors does not stand out and he’s only batted .217 in his two brief years in the majors.
The Nats like Solano and feel he can be a major league catcher, but given Ramos’ tendency to get hurt, they will probably look for a more than adequate number two. They need a guy who can step in to catch for a month or more as the primary guy and Solano doesn’t appear to fit that bill.
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