All winter, the Nationals have been prepared themselves in the event that Wilson Ramos isn’t fully ready for the start of spring training. Manager Davey Johnson has said Kurt Suzuki will likely be the opening-day catcher, and the team envisions easing Ramos in as the season progresses.
Tuesday, the Nationals added yet another measure of insurance to those backstops by signing Chris Snyder to a minor league deal with an invitation to major league camp. Snyder, 31, a nine-year major league veteran, adds experience to an already-deep Nationals catching corps. Snyder will join youngsters Sandy Leon and Jhonatan Solano and longtime minor leaguer Carlos Maldonado in big league camp in a week.
Snyder, a capable defensive catcher and right-handed hitter, compiled a .176/.295/.308 line with the Houston Astros in 76 games last season. He posted a career .225/.329/.385 triple slash line in nine seasons for the Arizona, Pittsburgh and Houston. General Manager Mike Rizzo, when with the Diamondbacks as a director of scouting, drafted Snyder in the second round of the 2002 draft out of the University of Houston.
Ramos is rehabbing from major knee surgery that repaired a torn anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus suffered last May. He has rehabbed in Washington since his surgeries last summer and, in a text message Tuesday, said he feels strong and better. He hopes to be ready when pitchers and catchers report to spring training in a week but doctors are taking a cautious approach. He said is allowed to practice, but slowly. He added he is able to squat down and run without any pain.
The Nationals also announced they signed right-handed reliever Jeremy Accardo to a minor league deal that includes an invitation to major league camp. The eight-year veteran split time between Cleveland and Oakland last season, compiling a 4.82 ERA in 37 1/3 innings, a 7.0 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 ratio. His better seasons came with Toronto, notably 2007 when he posted a 2.14 ERA and 30 saves.