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Posted at 12:25 PM ET, 02/15/2011

Long toss: Too many catchers

By Washington Post editors

In today's newspaper, Adam Kilgore reported on catcher Jesus Flores's long road back from a shoulder injury. Flores' healthy return poses a happy dilemma for the Nationals.

Last month, Kilgore blogged:

By midseason, the Nationals could be best served to part ways with Rodriguez and let Ramos and Flores develop at the major league level. That would also allow Rodriguez to try to find a situation where he could receive enough playing time to pursue his goal of becoming the first catcher to record 3,000 hits."

And yesterday hansenjo was on the same wavelength in the blog comments.

If Flores is back, I think both Pudge [Rodriguez] and [Wilson] Ramos get flipped. Both of them are far more valuable in the trade market.

What do you think? Who would you keep between Flores, Ramos and Rodriguez?

By Washington Post editors  | February 15, 2011; 12:25 PM ET
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Too many catchers? No. Too much Long Toss? Hell yes.

Posted by: FeelWood | February 15, 2011 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Option D - Norris

Posted by: whatsaNATaU | February 15, 2011 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Trade Pudge. Keep Ramos and Flores.

The Nats have time to see which of the younger catchers is the #1 for the future and work out a trade for the other.

No sense in dealing anyone off that quickly.

Rodriguez is 38 years old and clearly could use a chance to be on a contender.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | February 15, 2011 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Actually, between the three aforementioned options - Pudge, Ramos, and Flores - the answer is Ramos if he proves he can hit. He is the young, good defensively, game calling, good arm option. If Ramos can't hit, and Flores can throw, then Flores is a viable option while we wait for Norris and the other catching prospects. But Flores was not particularly effective at stopping basestealers before he hit his shoulder. We need proof he can outperform Josh Bard and Matt LeCroy defensively behind the plate after injury.

Posted by: whatsaNATaU | February 15, 2011 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Right now it's Ramos and Pudge while Flores gets used to playing baseball again.

Then we hope someone is desperate for a serviceable catcher at the trade deadline and unload pudge and bring up Flores.

Norris will stay in the minor this season. We'll be including him in this discussion next year.

Posted by: Kavorka | February 15, 2011 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Give the guy (Morgan) a chance for the love of God. The guy is hard-nosed former hockey player he will work to get better. I'm rooting for him to bring it all together this year and I think he will.

Posted by: Section505203 | February 15, 2011 12:17 PM


Banking on some "break-out" year by a 30-year old AAAA player?

Shoot, you sound like the typical Natinals fan.

Actually you sound like you have the credentials to be the Natinals GM.

hahahahahhah, Morgan breaking out. Hahahahahahahahahahahaha

Posted by: P00PY_MCP00P | February 15, 2011 1:26 PM | Report abuse

You can never have too many catchers. Keep them all and put Ramos or Flores in AAA until either we get an offer we can't refuse or someone gets hurt. Pudge is gone after this year so we have 2 options for next year, plus Norris, who could probably play 1B given the opportunity.

The other option is to trade Ramos back to the Twins for Liriano.

Posted by: NatsWin | February 15, 2011 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Why do we worry about TOO MUCH TALENT? Oh we just had to trade Willingham because....Why did we trade Willingham again, oh because he was an OF and we had three good OF's... I personally think this would have been a better team had we kept him. Now we are going to say the same thing with Catcher... Is it ever ok to acquire too much talent and let them compete for their starting jobs? Keep all three. One can DH when we play interleague games. At the end of the year when Ramos is doing better than Flores and the Nats think they can get something back for Pudge that is significant, then trade him. Otherwise bask in the glow of excess talent on your roster, at a position that typically gets hurt and needs regular days off.

Posted by: PNatsFan | February 15, 2011 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Trade whichever one will get hurt first, before it happens, because then they will need both of the others. Otherwise, there's no problem here.

Posted by: Section3mysofa | February 15, 2011 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I posted on this same topic last week.

I proposed some possible trade partners, teams that are going into the 2011 season with very little catching depth.

Short answer; hope both Ramos and Flores are 100% healthy and play well in the spring, impressing other GMs and then work a trade for one or the other. There's no value in having Flores rotting in AAA for half a season when Norris is clearly being groomed for the 2nd catcher spot in 2012.

Posted by: tboss | February 15, 2011 1:51 PM | Report abuse

There's many a slip 'twixt "being groomed for" and "being."
Numbers gurus: what are the chances they can get through a full season with only two catchers? Can't be good.

Posted by: Section3mysofa | February 15, 2011 1:56 PM | Report abuse


oh god I'm lonely.


so very alone.

ugh, this feels like a double dose of pills day for me...

Posted by: P00PY__MCP00P | February 15, 2011 1:57 PM | Report abuse

too many catchers is a great thing.

Posted by: destewar | February 15, 2011 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Ramos, Flores then Pudge... in that order...

If Flores proves he is healthy and Ramos looks like a contributer, that is a really nice young catching tandem. A lot of clubs would love to have two young catchers with upside on both offense and defense.

If that plan pans out, see what you can get for Pudge (probably not much at this point in his career)... and consider moving Norris to 1st base and putting Marrero out there for trade, too... or, if Norris looks like he can catch in the bigs, sweet... think about putting Flores, Ramos or Norris out there if needed... I would think young catching would be a hot commodity, don't squander it!

Posted by: Ghost7 | February 15, 2011 1:58 PM | Report abuse

And as Feelwood pointed out a few posts back, you don't trade people because you have them (unless you are trying to get rid of them), you trade *for* people because you need them, if you can.

Posted by: Section3mysofa | February 15, 2011 2:04 PM | Report abuse

You trade Pudge and Ramos after a sparkling 1st half by Flores, then FLores makes a bad slide and its welcome back to the majors Mr Maldanado for your second cup of coffee.

You flip Pudge, if you can, at the deadline but he might not be worth much. You keep and build around Ramos and Flores. You let Norris develop and if he's a MLB player there will be a roster spot for him, be it here or somewhere else.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | February 15, 2011 2:05 PM | Report abuse

When everyone sees what kind of shape Jesus has gotten himself in, it will be very apparent who we should keep.
Flores has a newfound love affair with physical fitness which should bode well for his ability to ward off the injury bug that has plagued him. He's faster, stronger and hungrier.
If I had to bet, my money's on Jesus Flores.

Posted by: jacktaven | February 15, 2011 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Unless Flores blows everyone out of the water in spring training, he should play everyday in Syracuse to get back in MLB-ready shape. I seriously doubt that Flores and Pudge will stay healthy all summer, but if so it's a blessing and consider a trade before the deadline (if Ramos impresses this season).

Posted by: Kev29 | February 15, 2011 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Flores is 26 years old already. Even before his injuries hit, he had missed years of needed development time behind the dish, first due to Rule 5 requiring him to stay in the majors in 2007, and then due to the LoDuca Debacle in 2008, when the organization wanted Flores to stay at Columbus all year and have the experience of starting regularly at catcher. And then 2009 and 2010 have been total washouts.

If he is finally recovered from his injuries, that's great news. But as far as him becoming an everyday big-league catcher, it's pretty clear that that ship has sailed, and I think the Nats know it, too. He's way behind the curve at learning how to handle the toughest and most demanding defensive position in baseball. He can't make up the years that he's lost.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | February 15, 2011 2:56 PM | Report abuse

I dont think this is that big of a problem. Pudge is old and not part of the long term plan. Ramos and Flores at this point are both still prospects. Let em fight it out. I only see this being a problem if we still have Ramos and Flores preforming well and Norris learns how to catch. At that point something will have to give. Or you could put Norris at 1st.

Posted by: Stu27 | February 15, 2011 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, as the man said:

You can never be too rich or too thin or have too many catchers.

Posted by: mikecatcher50 | February 15, 2011 3:12 PM | Report abuse

If he is finally recovered from his injuries, that's great news. But as far as him becoming an everyday big-league catcher, it's pretty clear that that ship has sailed, and I think the Nats know it, too. He's way behind the curve at learning how to handle the toughest and most demanding defensive position in baseball. He can't make up the years that he's lost.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | February 15, 2011 2:56 PM

The shame of it is that I thought he was terrific in the spring of '09 - just before he was injured. Let's see what he has in him - and hey, at least he'll have young legs for a catcher :-/

Posted by: Kev29 | February 15, 2011 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Flores. Help Pudge find a home where he gets his hits without the day-to-day catching gring.

Ramos has yet to demonstrate the hitting ability although not much of it is expected of catchers any more!

The Edgar Kid

Posted by: RWEcon87 | February 15, 2011 3:18 PM | Report abuse

I would play the youngsters and trade Pudge early. There are plenty of contending teams, like Texas, TB, even Boston, that could use veteran catching help and might be tempted to give up a decent prospect. I'm concerned if Pudge gets off to a slow start or gets injured again, his value will really drop off.

Pudge really has no value to the Nationals as a player as far as his own play goes -- since it's his walk year and we are about 30 wins shy of contending -- so the best argument for keeping him is to educate and coach the young catchers and pitchers. If we decide to keep Pudge all season, then Flores may go to AAA early in the season while we carry an extra pitcher. By no means do we trade any of the three young catchers, yet.

Posted by: jksesq1 | February 15, 2011 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Trade I-Rod in July is Flores plays well in Triple A (and if Ramos is also playing well).

I agree it best to let these two young cathers delevope, but lets see what we have first!

Posted by: tcostant | February 15, 2011 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Let's see if Flores can take the day to day grind in Syracuse first. Pudge was a great acqusition last year and may have some trade value. He may need to share time with Ramos to give Wilson a chance to develop at the ML level. Not a bad problem to have.

Posted by: Natmeister | February 15, 2011 3:44 PM | Report abuse

All things being equal, Pudge should be the firs to go. I think it will all be sorted out in Spring Training.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7

Posted by: adhardwick | February 15, 2011 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Stop plotting three moves ahead. Win now and let tomorrow take care of itself. Players switch teams all the time - it's called Free Agency.
Pudge is a sure first-vote Hall of Famer who still outplays the other two guys. Keep him and wring out his essence.
Loyalty also matters. The Nats took it on the chin for letting Dunn go, and rightly so. Pudge is emblematic of the Pro. Treat him better than right and others will gravitate to the Nats.
Keep Pudge. Let the other two battle it out.

Posted by: LoveIB | February 15, 2011 4:11 PM | Report abuse

The only thing about Norris that doesn't seem quite right is that he's too short for his girth, and he seems to get hurt. Doesn't have a pro body that can take punishment. And it always seems like a different injury. He was just flat out fat when he showed up to spring training either last year or the prior one. He's too short to backup at 1B, and he's too damned slow to play the outfield. He might be able to hit .300 though. And I don't think there's any way Ramos could do that. If Flores gets his stroke back, he's in a different class than the other two. He can jack. I don't know what you do with Pudge. Now Pants has him holding up three guys.

Posted by: Brue | February 15, 2011 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Get rid of I-Roid. Simple as that. 4 Homers???? He's off the juice and can't hit worth a darn.

Posted by: Dog-1 | February 15, 2011 7:20 PM | Report abuse

I would happily and quickly get rid of which ever guy got the most value in return, even if it's Ramos (who is probably the guy the Nats are most "invested" in at this point). Norris is waiting in the wings, and as long as you've got a healthy and relatively productive young guy (Flores or Ramos) there's your 1-2 for 2012 and beyond.

If Pudge brings the most in return, fantastic, we can have this conversation again next February (Flores, Ramos, and Norris)

Posted by: ajtrue78 | February 16, 2011 12:46 AM | Report abuse

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