Matt Wieters, Miguel Montero (remember him?), Spencer Kieboom, and Pedro Severino have produced a combined .186/.280/.261 line, 12 doubles and three home runs for the 2018 Washington Nationals out of the catcher’s position, which would seem to be a sign that the team is in desperate need of an upgrade behind the plate.
Montero started just four games before the Nationals moved on from the veteran as their backup backstop.
Wieters, 32, out since early May with a hamstring injury which required surgery, put up a .242/.356/.403 line with a double and three home runs before going down.
Severino, 24, has been experiencing growing pains at and behind the plate while seeing the most time in Wieters’ absence, and he finished last night’s series opener with the Red Sox at .167/.254/.220 with 11 doubles, which is worst-case scenario production for a player who was always seen as a defense-first catcher as he came up in the organization.
Kieboom, 27, has played in just 17 games, with a .214/.298/.262 line and two doubles.
Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez was asked before the first of three with Boston in D.C. last night if it was time to look for another answer at the position?
“You know what I don’t make those decisions,” Martinez said. “I’ve got 25 guys on the roster and I do the best I can to manage those guys. I can’t say enough about Sevy and Kieboom.
“They’re out there every day and they give me 100% every single day, and they’ve come through on occasion, and they’re getting better. My biggest thing with them is, I tell them all the time, ‘Hey, whatever happens with your offense happens, what I really want you to do is handle the starting pitching and the bullpen.’ That’s it. I mean that’s their job.”
Wieters is working his way back, after participating in a simulated game on Monday, with an eye on a pre-All-Star Break return, but is he the answer for a team that’s struggled to get any significant offensive production out of a number of positions?
Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo, in a recent MLB Network Radio interview, said that in spite of rumors of renewed interest in Miami Marlins’ catcher J.T. Realmuto, the Nats have not revisited the idea for a while now because they know that the price the Fish are seeking is more than they’re willing to meet (Juan Soto or Victor Robles-plus according to reports this winter).
“We touched base with Realmuto early in the winter,” Rizzo explained, “and really haven’t circled back yet. They’ve got a great player in Realmuto, they’re not going to sell him cheap and we know what the return has to be on Realmuto and we’re not willing to meet that price, so unless something changes there on their end, we’re going to go with Wieters when he gets healthy and a combination of Severino and Kieboom to back him up.”
As for other positions the Nationals may potentially look to upgrade as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches?
FanCred’s Jon Heyman reported on Twitter this morning that the Nationals have interest in two of the Cincinnati Reds’ pitchers:
Nats have talked to the Reds. Matt Harvey and Raisel Iglesias are of interest to nats, who are seeking another starter. Multiple teams see Iglesias as possible starter.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 3, 2018