Wire Taps: Nationals' Catcher Wilson Ramos In Venezuela + Nats' Backup Search?

Jennifer Stewart

Will the Washington Nationals find a backup catcher who can play every day if they need him to, or will they go into the season with either Sandy Leon or Jhonatan Solano as the second catcher? They have to get a catcher, right? There are no answers, but plenty of links below...

Six games in, as the DH for the Tigres de Aragua in the Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional, 26-year-old Washington Nationals' catcher Wilson Ramos is 6 for 22 (.273/.429/.273) with five walks and three Ks. Meanwhile, back in the nation's capital there's little talk of the pursuit of another catcher to help carry the load should the Nats' no.1 backstop have injury issues again this season.

"We've got two guys below in [Jhonatan] Solano and [Sandy] Leon below [Ramos and Suzuki] that we feel have a chance to be everyday catchers in the big league some day." - Mike Rizzo on Nats' organization depth behind the plate last Spring

Ramos, who missed time this season with two hamstring injuries after returning from knee surgery in 2012, put up a .272/.307/.470 line with nine doubles and 16 home runs in 78 games and 303 plate appearances in 2013 over which he was worth +1.8 fWAR. Kurt Suzuki was worth -0.4 fWAR In the 79 games he played behind the plate for the Nats last season.

Sandy Leon, 24, played just two games with Washington last season. At Double-A Harrisburg, he had a .177/.291/.252 line with 12 doubles and three home runs in 95 games and 361 PAs. Jhonatan Solano, 28, had a .146/.180/.188 line in 24 games and 50 plate appearances with the Nationals and a .214/.245/.279 line with seven doubles in 40 games and 140 PAs at Triple-A Syracuse.

Adrian Nieto, 24, had a .285/.373/.449 line with 29 doubles and 11 HRs in 110 games and 452 PAs at High-A Potomac this year, and he's coming off a 13-game stint in the Arizona Fall League over which he had a .271/.345/.333 line. Baseball America ranked 20-year-old catcher Pedro Severino, who had a .241/.274/.333 line, 19 doubles, two triples and a home run in 84 games and 302 PAs at Low-A Hagerstown, the Top Defensive Catcher in the organization on their recently-released 2014 prospect rankings.

Nats' GM Mike Rizzo has said in the past that the team feels Leon and Solano can be everyday catchers in the majors some day. Can the Nationals take a chance that they have to find out if that's true should something go wrong with Wilson Ramos? How long will the Nationals wait to find the backup catcher they want if they want one?

While we wait to find out... Links and lots of them, starting... RIGHT NOW!!!:

• THE BIG STORY!!!:

• NATS BEAT:

• "That the Nationals were able to net a return for Abad is somewhat impressive." - "Nationals trade Fernando Abad for minor league outfielder John Wooten" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "Abad leaves the Nationals after just one year in the organization. The Nats signed him as a free agent on Nov. 19, 2012 and saw him play a much bigger role than first expected." - "Nationals trade LHP Abad for OF prospect John Wooten" - Chase Hughes, Nats Insider

• "By my count, this marks the fifth time the Nats and Athletics have been involved in a trade in the last two years." - "Nationals Pastime: Nats trade Abad to Athletics for minor leaguer Wooten (Robertson outrighted)" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "As for Wooten, the right-handed-hitting outfielder played for Class A Beloit this season and hit .257 with 20 home runs and 69 RBIs." - "Nationals trade reliever Fernando Abad to A's for Minor League oufielder John Wooten" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "Nationals Q&A: Potential starters, bench upgrades, Anthony Rendon and more" - Adam Kilgore & James Wagner, Washington Post

• Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter (@DalaiLama):

• NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

• "'But with every great success story, you have a Minneapolis, a Chicago White Sox or a Washington Nationals,' he said. Matheson said a new stadium 'almost never' creates city-wide economic benefits and sometimes not even neighborhood effects." - "Taxpayers on the hook for stadium costs" - Jolie Lee, USA TODAY Network

• "Prior to joining the Brewers, Coles spent four seasons in the Washington Nationals organization." - "Tigers name Darnell Coles assistant hitting coach" - Tigers Press Release, tigers.com: News

• "Par ailleurs, les A’s ont acquis les services du releveur Fernando Abad dans un échange avec les Nationals de Washington." - "Les Athletics joueront à Oakland" - Le Journal de Montréal

• NATSTOWN/MINORS:

• "Nationals vice president of player development Doug Harris recently returned from a trip to the team's baseball academy in the Dominican Republic." - "Byron Kerr: Dominican academy update on Suero, Franco and Robles" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "Monday Quickie - the Haren the Hound" - Harper, Nationals Baseball

• "Lucas Giolito made his post-Tommy John return in 2013 on July 3 with the Gulf Coast League Nationals and managed 11 total starts on the season before calling it a year." - "Washington Nationals Minor League Spotlight: Lucas Giolito" - Chase Hughes, Nats Insider

• "Which Washington Nationals Prospects Will Breakout in 2014" - Ryan Sullivan, NatsGM

• "Nats Trade Abad To Oakland For OF John Wooten" - Luke Erickson, NationalsProspects.com

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Mets: "Wright said Monday in an interview with WFAN's Mike Francesa that he expects team officials to live up to what they told him before he re-signed a year ago..." - "David Wright expects Mets to spend this offseason, just as he was told" - Jim Baumbach, New York Newsday

• Happy Holidays From The Mets:


Mets: "The Mets quickly considered themselves priced out of the Jhonny Peralta sweepstakes..." - "Mets face even tighter shortstop market after Peralta signing" - Dan Martin, New York Post

Marlins: "Top Marlins prospect Christian Yelich quietly reached the majors last season." - "Christian Yelich: Modest Success" - Brad Johnson, FanGraphs Fantasy Baseball

Phillies: "In the midst of a busy offseason, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. joined Comcast SportsNet’s 'Philly Sports Talk' on Monday to discuss a number of topics..." - "Amaro talks Halladay, Howard, Ruiz and more" - Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia

Braves: "After coming off a year in which Heyward was the 10th most valuable outfielder, he was limited to just 440 plate appearances as he dealt with a spate of health related issues." - "Injuries Ravage Jason Heyward’s Season" - Mike Podhorzer, FanGraphs Fantasy Baseball

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