The New York Mets may be trying to win the winter with a splashy back-page headline deal, but the Washington Nationals made a much smaller trade Friday that improved their major league roster at a fairly minimal cost.
The Nationals get an above-average regular behind the plate in Yan Gomes, who makes up for chronic low OBPs with some power, above-average framing and good results against the running game. Washington’s catchers hit an aggregate .214/.304/.320 last year, and that’s with the benefit of eight intentional walks, while their primary catcher, Matt Wieters, has consistently graded out as one of the game’s worst pitch framers. So much went wrong for Washington last year en route to an 82-80 record when they were preseason favorites to win the division; the vortex of death behind the plate may not have been the only reason, but it was a big one. Gomes could easily be a four-win upgrade, depending on how much he plays this year, and he should get the bulk of the playing time over Kurt Suzuki.