Of all the positions on the diamond, the Nationals might have the most organizational depth at catcher.
Kurt Suzuki and Wilson Ramos appear poised to make up one of the most talented catching duos at the major league level, and waiting in the wings on the farm, the Nats have Jhonatan Solano, Sandy Leon and Carlos Maldonado, ready to step in if needed.
But with Ramos coming back from major knee surgery, the Nationals aren’t willing to take any chances. That’s why they’ve signed veteran catcher Chris Snyder to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training, a club source confirms.
Snyder appeared in 72 games for the Astros last season, putting up a .176/.295/.308 slash line with seven homers and 24 RBIs in 221 at-bats.
The 32-year-old is a lifetime .225 hitter, but he’s a proven major league player who gives the Nats another option behind the plate.
Ramos is expected to be healthy for opening day, but the Nationals are going to ease him back into action after he had surgery to repair a torn ACL and meniscus in his right knee last summer.
Manager Davey Johnson has said that Suzuki will open the season as the Nationals’ starting catcher, but assuming Ramos is able to work his way back into playing shape, he’ll likely take over the starting job eventually.
Still, Snyder’s presence provides even more insurance in case Ramos has a setback with the knee or if his return to action takes longer than expected.
Snyder’s signing was first reported by ESPN.com.
Update: The Nationals have also announced that they’ve signed right-handed reliever Jeremy Accardo to a minor league deal with an invitation to big league spring training.
Accardo, 31, spent the 2012 season with the Indians and A’s, and posted a 4.82 ERA in 27 appearances.