The Nationals only have one positional spot to upgrade and that would be the catcher’s position. The Nationals are dead-last in catcher’s OPS at .570 this season with a sub-Mendoza batting average. This season the Nationals must upgrade at catcher. Maybe we have been looking at this the wrong way and just need to find a right-handed platoon bat for catcher assuming Matt Wieters is able to make it back this season.
The Nationals have not been great with their 18th ranking against left-handed pitching (.700 OPS) so maybe you find a catcher just to platoon with Wieters who could play against the right-handed pitchers only. That brings up a whole new roster of catchers like Elias Diaz who has raked this year against lefties as has Nick Hundley. Those are two catchers who wouldn’t cost much. The shame of it is that Hundley was available in the off-season and the Nats took the superstar (snark) Miguel Montero instead.
If Wieters does not make it back or you have seen enough that you just want to upgrade regardless, then you have to look at:
Strangely, Realmuto has large reverse splits and only hits lefties this season at .213 while hitting .325 against righties. Wilson Ramos hits any pitcher, and Cervelli has a bigger problem with reverse splits as he hits lefties (small sample size) at .152 and righties at .281.
If you get Cervelli, you still might want Hundley just to face LHPs. That is the reason Cervelli would be 3rd on my wishlist. If you have World Series aspirations, it’s about time and for once that general manager Mike Rizzo upgrades at catcher mid-season.
Wilson Ramos for so many reasons seems to make the most sense for this team and it starts with his familiarity with the pitchers and his offense plus that he would mostly be a salary dump type of trade that would not cost Mike Rizzo to part with a top prospect like Carter Kieboom.
With the Mets looking like sellers and the resurgence of Mesoraco, he will be good trade bait for another team as he would not fit what the Nationals needs. His batting average is not good but he takes walks and hits HRs with a very respectable OPS of .784 with the Mets.
If the Nationals are looking for their catcher of the future, the answer keeps going back to J.T. Realmuto and how he will look even better if he played in Nationals Park as his home stadium. With Carter Kieboom marching up the prospect rankings at #34 on Fangraphs and #24 on Bleacher Report, he should be able to be the centerpiece of a Realmuto trade. Will he? Who knows. Last night Kieboom got to showcase his talents at the High-A All-Star game where he went 3-for-5 with a home run.
The Nationals have options to upgrade at catcher and need to think at the very least about getting a catcher who rakes against left-handed pitchers, and to think larger try to get Realmuto or Ramos.