It’s no secret that the Washington Nationals are competing for a title this season and hope to continue to compete with their pitching core for as long as possible. The Nationals currently have a situation where they are platooning Yan Gomes and Kurt Suzuki at catcher, but is that going to be able to hold up for much longer? Yan Gomes is 33 and Suzuki nearly 37, and neither are great framing catchers. So why not go and grab JT Realmuto?
Elite Framing Helps Pitchers
When it comes to being a great framing catcher, JT Realmuto could fit the bill for the Washington Nationals. Over the last three seasons JT Realmuto has a 15.4 FRM, which is one of the better marks in baseball in that time span. His amazing framing and good defense helps to save runs and strikes, as he had a 19.5 FRAA (Fielding Runs Above Average) and 8 Runs Extra Strikes in 2019. Those three metrics add up to Realmuto helping pitchers give up less runs and stealing strikes that otherwise would put pitchers in worse counts.
His effect on the starting staff wouldn’t be massive as the unit was elite last year. The thing is, that it’s not the main concern, the best part above Realmuto being able to save runs is that the bullpen will see improvement, without even adding a reliever (yet).
JT Realmuto’s Bat Would Be A Plus
Since 2017 JT Realmuto is 5th in wRC+, 6th in wOBA, 9th in OBP, and 3rd in SLG (among catchers). He also has his xwOBA in the .340-.350 range in 2017-2019. He’s one of the best offensive catchers in the sport, and so he would severely help a lineup that lost their best right handed power bat in Anthony Rendon.
The only doubts people have about Realmuto is his bat. The 29-year-old had a less than spectacular 108 wRC+ in 2019 after his 126 wRC+ in 2018. The concern is understandable. Personally, I’m not worried because his 108 wRC+ was attributed to a rocky start, Consider that he then had a 97 wRC+ pre-All-Star break, then had a 122 wRC+ in the second half. Realmuto’s going to be a good at the dish in 2020, and it’ll quiet the doubt about his bat.
Having the Money to Get it Done
The Washington Nationals are currently in a good situation to be able to sign JT Realmuto. They can drop Anibal Sanchez’s $12 million dollars and will not have major players to retain other than Sean Doolittle. They can give Realmuto $20 million, as Yasmani Grandal got around $18.3 million a year, despite being a better catcher. I think 5-6 years can get this deal done, and give the Nationals a franchise catcher they could use.
Also one of the best parts about this signing would be taking him away from a rival. There’s no revenge sweeter than winning a World Series then stealing their franchise catcher. This deal would also make the Nationals division favorites for 2021, and if they have a good season this year (which I think they will), then they could see another title in D.C.
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