The Nationals' sense of organizational urgency is such that they parted ways with the veteran manager, Dusty Baker, who guided them to 97 wins and a division title in 2017. That's because the 2018 season is almost certainly Bryce Harper's last in Washington. As well, Daniel Murphy, Gio Gonzalez, and Ryan Madson will likely choose to join Harper on the free-agent market next winter, and ace Max Scherzer will turn 34 in July. Baseball is built to defy easy assumptions, but the 2018 season looks and feels like the Nats' last best chance for a while. They should continue treating it as such. To that end, the Nationals badly need a new catcher. Incumbent Matt Wieters is coming off a 2017 season in which he put up a patently unacceptable OBP of .288 and OPS+ of 63. As well, Wieters is a notable liability on defense. The all-encompassing defensive metric for catchers at Baseball Prospectus (subscription required and worth it) tabs Wieters in 2017 as 13 runs worse than the average backstop when it comes to blocking pitches, framing pitches, controlling the running game, and fielding batted balls. Stated another way, Wieters ranked 108th out of 110 catchers last season. It's one thing to give away runs behind the plate if you're producing at the plate, but Wieters isn't doing any of it. The Nats badly need an upgrade, even if it means eating all or most of Wieters' $10.5 million salary for 2018. On that front, the Marlins are of course willing to part with their deeply underrated catcher, J.T. Realmuto. Realmuto also reportedly wants out of Miami now that the roster has crumbled around him.
Why the Nationals should do what it takes to trade for the Marlins' J.T. Realmuto
CBS Sports | Feb 5