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Washington Nationals Sign Veteran Catcher Chris Snyder To Minor League Deal

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The Washington Nationals confirmed a report by ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick this afternoon that said the team had added veteran backstop Chris Snyder on a minor league deal, giving the defending NL East Champions insurance should Wilson Ramos not be 100% at the start of the season.

Bob Levey

Sooooo... about the Nats' catching depth...

ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick was first with the news this afternoon that the Washington Nationals had added 31-year-old, nine-year veteran catcher Chris Snyder on a minor league deal:

The move has since been confirmed by several sources. The former Arizona Diamondbacks' backstop played for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2010-11 and the Houston Astros in 2012. In 76 games and 258 plate appearances with Houston last year, Snyder had a .176/.295/.308 line with 8 doubles and seven home runs. On his career, the '02 D-Backs' 2nd Round pick has a .225/.329/.385 line. The veteran catcher, as ESPN.com's Mr. Crasnick (and NatsInsider.com's Mark Zuckerman) noted on Twitter, gives the Nationals depth in case Wilson Ramos (who had surgery to repair a torn ACL and meniscus in his right knee last summer) is less than 100% come Opening Day. Snyder was drafted by the D-Backs when current Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo was Arizona's Director of Scouting.

Snyder turns 32 a week from today. The veteran catcher gives the Nationals depth behind the plate, as noted last night in an article on Washington's catching, with Kurt Suzuki and Ramos atop a list that also includes 23-year-old Sandy Leon, 27-year-old Jhonatan Solano and 34-year-old Carlos Maldonado. The Nationals let 28-year-old catcher Jesus Flores become a free agent earlier this winter. The five-year veteran, who filled in for Wilson Ramos after his knee injury and before the Nationals acquired Suzuki, eventually signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers.

Wilson Ramos is expected to be 100% for Spring Training, but Snyder gives the Nats a backstop with significant experience should Ramos not be ready at the start of the 2013 campaign. Snyder had back surgery in 2010 to repair a herniated disc. After the end of the 2012 campaign, the Houston Astros declined a $4M dollar option and bought the catcher out at a cost of $500,000. The minor league deal with the Nationals includes an invitation to Spring Training. The Nats officially announced the deal via Twitter a half an hour ago: