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Washington Nationals Should Stand Pat at Catcher in Wake of Wilson Ramos Injury

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Washington Nationals Should Stand Pat at Catcher in Wake of Wilson Ramos Injury
Elsa/Getty Images
Jose Lobaton has done enough in the past to deserve a shot at the Nationals' starting catching job before they seek outside help.

It was recently reported by the Washington Post that Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos is likely headed for surgery on his left hand that could keep him out for four to eight weeks. That leaves current backup Jose Lobaton in line to get the majority of the action behind the dish, with Jhonatan Solano likely in line to become the team's new backup. 

As indicated by the fact that Ramos hit fourth (ahead of All-Star Bryce Harper and Silver Slugger Ian Desmond) on Monday, the Nationals clearly expected him to be a big contributor in the lineup. But suddenly, whoever starts at catcher will be an obvious candidate to bat eighth each game, and the depth in Washington's lineup takes a significant hit. 

However, the Nationals shouldn't panic. A lineup featuring the likes of Harper, Desmond, Denard Span, Ryan Zimmerman, Jayson Werth, Anthony Rendon and Adam LaRoche is still plenty talented enough to score enough runs to win ballgames. And at this stage of the season—the Nationals have yet to play their second gameit's unlikely that Washington will be able to acquire a catcher who presents a significant upgrade over the team's in-house options without vastly overpaying. 

And to be fair, Lobaton hasn't yet had a chance to show what he can do. He hit just under .250 (.249) in 277 at-bats with the Tampa Bay Rays last season, so based on his track record, he's not a total liability offensively and deserves a shot to prove he's worthy of the starting job. Considering Washington gave up Nathan Karns, their former Minor League Pitcher of the Year, to get Lobaton, they obviously think somewhat highly of him. 

Worst case, Lobaton struggles for a week or two and the Nationals go out and acquire a catcher. If the team loses enough games in that span that they're in a significant hole in the standings, there are more serious issues at hand than Jose Lobaton being the starting catcher anyway, so why not give him a shot? 

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