May 132012
 

The much ballyhooed depth of the Nationals’ catching will be put to the test as Harrisburg’s Sandy Leon gets the call to replace Wilson Ramos on the Washington roster.

Geography was apparently a factor in the decision, with the Harrisburg Senators in Akron Ohio, roughly four hours away by car from Cincinnati. Another factor: the undisclosed injury/illness of Jhonatan Solano, who remains on the DL since April 20. As reported last month, the Syracuse radio team referencing him feeling ill in one of the broadcasts.

Folks have pointed out that Solano’s last appearance was on April 16, a game in in which Solano was hit by a pitch in the 7th, however, he did not leave the game, ran the bases, and struck out in the next inning. There was no mention of his name in the timeframe in between April 16th and April 20th in either the Syracuse or Auburn newspapers that would either confirm or refute that remark.

How long Leon stays on the parent club is another question that remains open to debate and speculation. Defensively, there is little doubt that the 23-year-old Venezuelan is MLB-ready, but while the casual fan will note his hitting prowess this season (.319/.356/.457), this offensive outburst has been long time coming.

Yes, he’ll get the benefit of major-league coaching, though the diminishing offensive returns of the Washington Nationals under Rick Eckstein’s watch begs the question, “Might this do more harm than good?”

The move fills the Nationals 40-man roster to the 40-man limit, with seven players (Mark DeRosa, Brad Lidge, Michael Morse, Ramos, Drew Storen, Chien-Ming Wang, and Jayson Werth) on the 15-day DL and two on the 60-day DL (Chris Marrero, Cole Kimball). It’s worth noting that Wang’s rehab period ends in roughly 15 days, while the 60-day period for Marrero and Kimball is up about week after that.

Predicting the next move is always a fool’s errand, for if there’s one thing that’s certain, the current front office will find a way to exploit this confluence of events if there’s any way possible. (You can go looking for the rules for the 60-Day DL, but I suspect they’re not found on a sign on Jimmie Dimmick’s front lawn).

My personal opinion is that this may be harmful to Leon because it’s going to interrupt his offensive development, while folks I highly respect (e.g. Brian Oliver) feel that with a ceiling of a backup catcher, you can kill two stones with one bird instead of making an impulsive trade or burning an organizational player (e.g. Carlos Maldonado or Devin Ivany).

Congratulations to Sandy nevertheless. Quite a phone call he got to make to su mama esta la noche, no?

  7 Responses to “Leon Gets The Call To Washington”

  1. But they kind of need good catching defense? … It was the lack thereof that contributed to Wilson’s demise. A passed ball. Its putting a lot of faith in Davey’s ability to develop prospects in the pros. The organization has already incurred a lot of risk as well as faith in Davey by bringing up Harper sooner than planned.

    I just don’t see them resigning Pudge. If it was going to be Maldonado they could have just promoted Leon to Syracuse right?

    It looks to me like its for the long-term. They can place some of those names back or on the 60-day DL when Wang and Morse are ready. But, I smell a trade in the offing relative to the Wang situation.

  2. I am SOOO happy Sandy got the call, but I too see a trade coming on. Maybe an outfielder getting traded?

  3. If you can play you can play. Give Leon a few starts this homestand. If he rakes, you’ve found a gem. If he doesn’t option him back down. He’s a man, he’ll get over it. This is a good problem to have. Heck, he might end up being the best backstop they’ve got in D.C.

    The bats awoke in hitter-friendly Cincy for the Nats. I think Davey’s words had way more impact than Eck’s. Hitting was certainly not the issue tonight – seeing fly balls better was. THAT was way more of a killer than HRod’s meltdown. Doesn’t happen with a 3-run lead.

  4. Part of rushing Harper to the big leagues is living with his lack of experience and skill in the outfield. This is just his second year ever in the outfield. He probably will never be Mickey Mantle in the outfield but should be serviceable over the long haul.
    Of more concern should be his lack of maturity. 10 stitches over your eye is lucky compared to what it might have been. He doesn’t need to be a Rhodes scholar but he needs to be smart enough not to do really dumb stuff.

    • He’s not the first ballplayer to throw a tantrum and some of them have been in the big leagues for many years. Given his intelligence level I’d consider this a lucky break and lesson learned.

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