Wilson Ramos played in a career high 128 games in his sixth major league season in 2015, but the 28-year-old catcher, who was nominated for a Gold Glove but didn't win the award, struggled offensively, putting up a .229/.258/.358 line, with 16 doubles and 15 homers over 504 plate appearances in a 0.4 fWAR campaign.
The oft-injured backstop talked last month about preparing for his seventh major league run after finally making it through an injury-free season.
"It made me feel good," Ramos said of remaining in the lineup throughout all of 2015.
"I was excited to play a lot of games, stay healthy, that's the most important thing... just concentrate on staying healthy and being behind the plate for a long time."
While he was happy to stay healthy, and was happy with his defense, Ramos acknowledged that things did not go as planned at the plate.
"I'm very excited, very happy for all I did behind the plate," he said.
"What I did behind the plate made me feel good because I'm learning every year more and more. With my offense, I'm a little bit not happy, but I know I have to work and need to work a lot try to do a better job next season."
After dealing with injuries throughout his first few major league seasons and the offensive drop-off last year, Ramos is headed into his final year of arbitration and is projected by MLBTraderumors.com to be in line for a raise to $5.3M this season before he can potentially become a free agent.
Will Ramos get a long-term deal that keeps him in the nation's capital? Are the Nationals, assuming that Ramos could be a free agent after 2016, looking for a potential future replacement?:
Nats have looked at the trade market for catchers. They are involved on a number of fronts.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 6, 2016
Are the Nationals trying to find a young controllable catcher of the future type in a trade this winter? Could they be looking for a catcher for 2016? Will the Nationals stick with Ramos and Jose Lobaton again this season?
Lobaton, 31, is due a raise to around $1.5M in 2015 after the veteran catcher put up a .199/.279/.294 line with four doubles and three home runs in 44 games and 155 PAs as the Nationals' backup last season.
Will any of the Natonals' backstop prospects be ready for 2017 if Ramos does leave via free agency?
Jakson Reetz, the highest-ranked catcher in the organization on MLB.com's list of the Nationals' top 30 prospects, is a 2014 3rd Round pick who is just 20 years old. He put up a .212/.326/.248 line with four doubles in 36 games and 132 PAs for the Auburn Doubledays last season.
Pedro Severino, 22, made his MLB debut in 2015 after putting up a .246/.288/.331 line with 13 doubles and five home runs in 91 games and 357 PAs at Double-A Harrisburg.
His defense is his strength, with MLB.com's scouts writing that, "Severino's arm strength and athleticism behind the plate leave no doubt he has the skills necessary to catch in the big leagues."
Spencer Kieboom, 24, and a 2012 5th Round pick, was added to the 40-Man roster this winter to protect him from selection in the Rule 5 Draft.
In 71 games and 285 PAs at High-A Potomac in 2015, Kieboom had a .248/.344/.346 line, with 16 doubles and two home runs.
"Kieboom's defense give him a good chance to reach the big leagues," MLB.com's scouts write.
"First, however, he'll need to show he can continue his offensive success as he advances to the upper levels of the Minor Leagues."
Raudy Reed, 22, is the fourth catcher in the Nats' Top 30 prospects, after a 2015 campaign spent mostly at Low-A Hagerstown, which saw him put up a .244/.307/.369 line with 20 doubles and five home runs in 82 games and 387 PAs.
Will any of the prospects be ready for everyday work in 2017? Should the Nationals be looking for an eventual Ramos replacement? Any chance Ramos remains in D.C. beyond 2016?