The Nationals have been consistently mentioned as a potential suitor for the top catchers on the free-agent and trade markets, but they may be out of the running for Yasmani Grandal, Wilson Ramos and J.T. Realmuto after agreeing to a two-year contract with Kurt Suzuki on Monday.
MLB.com's Mark Feinsand first reported the agreement, and sources told MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal that the contract will pay Suzuki $10 million -- $4 million for 2019 and $6 million for 2020.
Suzuki formed a productive catching tandem with Tyler Flowers for the Braves over the past two seasons, with both players splitting playing time fairly evenly. In that span, Suzuki recorded a 118 OPS+, putting him one point behind Realmuto, Buster Posey and Willson Contreras for the MLB lead among catchers (min. 500 plate appearances).
Suzuki played 122 games with the Nationals over 2012-13, and MLB Network insider Jon Heyman notes that they loved the veteran's makeup and receiving ability the first time they had him.
Washington has other needs to address and is unlikely to invest more of its resources in the catching position after inking Suzuki. That removes one potential competitor for Grandal, Ramos and Realmuto. There are still plenty of clubs in need of a catcher, but few contenders are expected to make improving at the position as much of a priority as the Nats did, which could cool the catcher market some.
While the Astros are known to be seeking a catcher, the club doesn't have to rush to sign or trade for one, with so many options still available.
Flowers remains with Atlanta, but the club is believed to be looking for someone to start regularly so it can push the 32-year-old to a more conventional backup role.
While the Marlins reportedly prefer not to deal Realmuto to another National League East team, the Braves may be able to offer Miami the best prospect package.