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Nats sign C Chris Snyder to minor league deal

Dec 21, 2013, 12:14 PM EDT

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

The Nationals signed catcher Chris Snyder to a minor league deal on Saturday, bringing the veteran back for a second consecutive spring. Snyder will join the team at big league camp in Viera, Fl. and provide backup catching depth behind Wilson Ramos.

Snyder appeared in eight exhibition games for the Nats last year before he was released. He signed with the Angels for the rest of spring before a trade sent him to the Baltimore Orioles.

Snyder played in just nine games for the Orioles and recorded two hits and a RBI. He spent most of his year at Triple-A Norfolk where he hit .243 with six home runs and 24 RBI in 52 games.

Snyder will be 33 on Opening Day and is far past his days as a starting catcher. He could have a chance at a roster spot if he beats out Jhonatan Solano, but Solano would seem to have the upperhand. There is also the second half of the offseason ahead of us which could see the Nationals bring in more catching options.

  1. Theophilus T.S. - Dec 21, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    Snyder is a has-been who never was.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Dec 21, 2013 at 1:12 PM

      Harsh but true. Is he better than the Onion?

  2. sjberke - Dec 21, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    Hard to get someone with a solid MLB track record when they either have to bet that Ramos gets hurt again (not a bad bet but still distasteful) or resign themselves to maybe 30-35 starts.

  3. Doc - Dec 21, 2013 at 1:09 PM

    If the Onion has the upper hand, the Nats are in trouble. Wad happened to all the fabled depth at C in the organization?? (Besides being traded to Oakland!)

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Dec 21, 2013 at 1:19 PM

      Derrek Norris was the depth. Nobody else has materialized. Rizzo may need to trade.

    • sjberke - Dec 21, 2013 at 1:20 PM

      Jesus Flores never came back all the way from his shoulder injury and was released after 2012 (too bad) and Adrian Nieto was taken in the Rule 5 draft last week (he might be back).

    • hantiaolang - Dec 21, 2013 at 2:43 PM

      I’m not sure if they had very strong catching depth but the Venezuela/Colombia connection was strong and very close – with Ramos, Maldonado, Solano, and Sandy Leon. I think Maldonado is still plugging away in Syracuse after 16 (17?) minor league seasons. If memory serves they had a few good prospects in 2012 with Freitas, Nieto, Cole Leonida, Pedro Severino in addition to Onion and Leon.

      After being dealt to Oakland, I think Freitas is currently in the O’s organization and – of course – Nieto got plucked by Detroit.

      Of all those guys I guess the top two behind Solano would be Leon and Severino. I hope Sandy finds his bat again. My kids and I enjoyed rooting for him at Potomac and Harrisburg (when they visited Bowie). Severino is only 20.

  4. veejh - Dec 21, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    Nothing to see here. Move along.

  5. Section 222 - Dec 21, 2013 at 1:58 PM

    Choo to Rangers — 7 years/$130 million. He gets to hit in another bandbox. Big loss for Reds.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Dec 21, 2013 at 2:00 PM

      Nice to see multiple top-tier free agents (e.g., Messrs. Beltran, Cano, Choo) going to the AL.

  6. Eugene in Oregon - Dec 21, 2013 at 1:58 PM

    Okay, I’ll bite. The picture above is who? Is that Chris Snyder? But I can’t find any record of him ever being in a Nats uniform, major or minor league? Photoshop? A different catcher?

    • Eugene in Oregon - Dec 21, 2013 at 2:02 PM

      Never mind. Just found it. A short stint in 2013 Spring Training (I was only looking at actual games).

      • unkyd59 - Dec 21, 2013 at 2:10 PM

        Read the post…?

      • Eugene in Oregon - Dec 21, 2013 at 2:18 PM

        That’s so conventional.

      • unkyd59 - Dec 21, 2013 at 5:00 PM

        Heheh…

  7. David Proctor - Dec 21, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    For what it’s worth, per Fangraphs:

    “The Steamer and Oliver projection systems (via Fangraphs) both like Snyder to put up an 84 wRC+ at the plate next year while adding solid defense. ”

    an 84 wRC+ and good defense is about as good as you could ask from a backup catcher. Suzuki’s last year was 69 and Buck’s 85.

    • Theophilus T.S. - Dec 21, 2013 at 3:14 PM

      Not worth much. If he’s so “good,” howcum he’s hit .176 and .100 the last two years? Maybe FanGraphs should sign him.

      • David Proctor - Dec 21, 2013 at 3:19 PM

        He had 25 ABs in 2013…

      • therealjohnc - Dec 23, 2013 at 12:02 AM

        Throw out 2013; as David pointed out, he only had 25 at bats. He didn’t play much because he was terrible offensively in 2012, putting up .176/.295/.308. Yeah, that’s pretty bad – although I will point out that even at his worst Snyder can work a lot of walks. Want to knowwhat’s just as bad? Kurt Suzuki in 2013 (.232/.290/.337) and 2012 (.235/.276/.328). Suzuki can’t hit and doesn’t walk much. That guy you’re pining for? He’s as bad as Snyder’s lousy season – two years in a row. And before that terrible season Snyder actually hit, posting a .271/.376/.396 season in 2011. That is why the projection services predict that Snyder will be … well, not good in 2014, but not abysmally terrible.

        And Snyder not only is solid defensively, consistently putting up positive defensive WAR on both Fangraphs and B-R while posting a slightly above league average CS%; he also is much better than either Suzuki or John Buck at pitch framing. While catching lousy pitching staffs in Pittsburgh, Houston and Baltimore.

        Is Snyder an all-star? Heck, no. But when you consider, as this writeup in Fangraphs did the lousy catcher market this offseason, Rizzo may well have picked up one of the better options available. Don’t take my word for it. Do some digging. I did.

  8. Theophilus T.S. - Dec 21, 2013 at 3:03 PM

    If the Nats — as seems probable — aren’t able to swing a deal for someone who won’t be an embarrassment, and Nieto comes back before the end of ST, I’d be very inclined to put him on the OD roster and see if he really can hit. (We already know Solano and Leon can’t so it’s worth the experiment.) I think defense for bench players is highly over-rated. The Nats start eight guys who don’t need late inning defensive replacements. On the other hand, if one of them is out of the lineup, the last thing you want is some scrubini who lowers the team BA by ten points. If Ramos goes down, Solano/Leon will cause chaos at the bottom of the order. Imagine the mental processes of the opposing pitcher: “Shall I pitch around this weak sister and go after Zimmerman/Strasburg/Pfister, or shall I just strike this bum out on three pitches and get Zimmerman/Strasburg/Pfister leading off the next inning?” Whoever steps in for Ramos, at or near the bottom of the lineup, needs a bat more than a glove.

  9. therealjohnc - Dec 22, 2013 at 10:24 AM

    Chaos at the end of the lineup? The Cardinals had Pete Kozma in the #8 spot all year. I guess that’s why they had such a terrible season.

    More seriously, there is a nightmare scenario. Rendon has a “sophomore slump,” Desmond and Ramos get hurt and Espinosa … well, remains Espinosa. Then suddenly you’re looking at a very short lineup and bringing back memories of Riggleman trotting out a lineup with four guys hitting below the Mendoza Line. But every situation has a similar nightmare scenario. You can play “nightmare” with every team in MLB. If your goal is to nightmare-proof the Nats’ roster I have bad news for you: it can’t be done.

  10. sunshinebobby - Dec 24, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    No P in Fister, Mr. Theo.

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