Earlier this week, the Washington Nationals signed Matt Wieters to a two-year deal, which is one of the bigger deals the team has done since acquiring outfielder Adam Eaton. Prior to Wieters' signing, the Nationals had acquired catcher Derek Norris from the San Diego Padres, something that wasn't seen as a terrible move, but again questionable as they need bullpen help. The confusion now lies in who is going to start as the every day catcher.

Where's the room?

The issue comes about when you look at the Nationals' current roster. There are now five catchers, including the newly signed Wieters and even though it is Spring Training, there are at least three who will have to compete for two spots.

Wieters does provide more offense than Norris, or even Jose Lobaton, but may solely compete with Norris alone for the starting role.

For starters, let's look at the 2016 offensive numbers between Wieters and Norris.

  • Wieters: .243/.302/.409, 17 HR, 88 wRC+, 87 OPS+
  • Norris: .186/.255/.328, 14 HR, 55 wRC+, 56 OPS+

Now the "obvious" answer to the catching problem here would be Wieters. Why? He simply hit better in 2016, as Norris' campaign was pretty abysmal, but when you look at 2012-2015, the two are much closer in comparison.

  • Wieters: .251/.313/.452, 58 HR, 107 wRC+, 108 OPS+
  • Norris: .248/.325/.396, 40 HR, 102 wRC+, 100 OPS+

The real issue here stems far beyond just offense and with a catcher, defense can sometimes be all or nothing.

Throwing runners out aside, there are some rather critical aspects of catching such as pitch framing, which Norris absolutely smoked Wieters in.

When it came to the amount of calls that would benefit the pitcher, Norris had 43 positive calls whereas Wieters had -55. Not only that, but Norris also had more strikes per game called (0.38) as opposed to Wieters (-0.49).

Now while those numbers aren't eye-popping, especially when compared to catchers such as Yadier Molina, Buster Posey, and Jonathan Lucroy, it certainly shows that Norris has been more kind to his fellow battery mate.

What happens now?

With that said, what do the Nationals do with Norris while handing Wieters a two-year deal?

The latest rumors that are out say that the team is looking to trade Norris, and quite frankly it would make the most sense. Lobaton is out of minor league options and Pedro Severino might very well start in Triple-A should Norris not be traded.

The question that a lot of fans may wonder is why would Washington trade for Norris instead of just signing Wieters months prior? Nobody really knows and honestly, either catcher has some pretty big shoes to fill with Wilson Ramos gone. My guess is we'll see Norris in a new uniform come April.

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