The Nationals announced Monday that they’ve activated Matt Wieters from the disabled list and optioned fellow catcher Pedro Severino to Triple-A Syracuse in order to open a spot on the active roster. Wieters has been out since mid-May following a hamstring injury that ultimately required surgery.
Wieters returns to the Nats at a time when the organization is widely reported to be in the market for an upgrade behind the dish. He’ll look to change the organization’s thinking in that regard over the next three weeks, though that may prove too difficult after a disastrous 2017 season in which Wieters batted just .225/.288/.344 with lackluster defensive contributions.
To his credit, Wieters was off to a much better start to the season before sustaining his injury. Through 76 plate appearances, he’d hit .231/.342/.385 with three homers. It’s a tiny sample, to be sure, but Wieters had boosted his walk rate by five percent while trimming roughly that same figure off his strikeout rate. Of course, a couple of his walks came while batting eighth early in the season, and his chase rate on pitches out of the zone had actually increased, while his swing rate at pitches in the zone had decreased.
Even with Wieters in the fold, it seems likely that the Nats will continue to explore the possibility of adding another option who’d likely push Wieters into a backup role. Wilson Ramos is the most frequently mentioned candidate connected with the Nationals as of late — especially following GM Mike Rizzo’s blunt comments about Miami’s asking price on J.T. Realmuto being too high. ESPN’s Buster Olney wondered yesterday, too, whether the Nationals would inquire on Martin Maldonado, should the Angels fall any further out of the race for a Wild Card spot in the American League (Twitter link).