Pudge Rodriguez, after exceeding offensive projections and offering sound defense, is off to the diabled list. The Nats have a west coast road trip coming up as well as a Strasburg start (we hope) on June 4 at home or dream crazy dreams May 29 in San Diego. As I see it we've got 4 options to address this problem. The Nats were kind of wrong footed on this one. They signed Chris Coste to be kind of an emergency catcher and he's now out for the year with Tommy John surgery. Likewise, they thought that Jesus Flores would be able to contribute something since they had him in spring training. They probably thought Jesus would be a potential option as a backup should Pudge break down after the all-star break.
Carlos Maldonado, who has caught Strasburg in Syracuse, is currently hitting .218 with a .592 OPS for Syracuse. I believe that he has a positive reputation defensively, however, and he has does have 21 games of major league experience with the Pirates.He has caught 26 games for Syracuse so far this year.
Devin Ivany, who has been in the Nationals system longer and may have been on our 40 man roster in the past, is currently hitting .222 for Syracuse with a .624 OPS. I do believe that he is solid defensively as well and may be the people's choice as a longer tenured Nat who has paid a lot of dues in the system.
Kilgore's article mentions Jamie Burke, who has just come off the DL and is supposed to head to Syracuse, as an option with more MLB experience. He has a .277 average in 390 at bats. He is, however, just coming off injury and would be a real unknown with the bat and may not have worked with our pitchers.
Kilgore also tosses out Paul Hoover who was DFAed this morning. I don't know how the timing works for this. If we claimed him, it seems that the Phillies could pull him back so we couldn't claim him off waivers and keep him or hold off for a little while while trying to work out a trade with the Nationals. We're in an emergency situation at this point and need to make a move. Paul Hoover has 37 games of MLB experience with 9 coming from the Phillies in '09 and '10, 20 games with the Marlins from '06-'08, and 8 games coming from back when he was a prospect with the Devil Rays. He's got a career .569 OPS in 101 big league plate appearances.
I guess there are other work out a trade kind of options and scenarios as well. Derek Norris, our best catching prospect right now, is in high A Potomac and unavailable as well because he is out 7-10 days after sustaining a concussion on a beanball.
They call them replacement players for a reason and I guess all of the above options are slightly below replacement guys who we would only call upon for a spot start or two.
Here's your chance to play general manager and offer a vote and a comment or two.