Acording to Bill Ladson of MLB.com, the Houston Astros are in the market for a catcher after Jason Castro went down in a knee injury. Ladson says Flores could be a prime candidate:
“In need of a catcher, the Astros are looking at Jesus Flores as a possible replacement for Jason Castro — who is out for the season because of a knee injury — according to a baseball source.
However, Houston is concerned about Flores’ right shoulder, which has kept him off the diamond for almost two years. Flores is healthy now, but has yet to be challenged in terms of trying to throw out runners this spring.”
We wrote earlier this year that there would be a good chance the Nationals would move Flores if he proved he was healthy this spring. The one time catcher-of-the-future has become expendible after two major injuries and the onset of prospects Wilson Ramos and Derek Norris. To the Nationals Flores represents a 26-year-old catching talent with limited upside who will have to be juggled with others in order to be given enough time to stay sharp, while to other’s, like the Astros, or the Padres, he represents a short-term solution at the catching position.
It’s not clear what Flores could bring in return for the Nationals, but if he is traded it will bring a quiet end to what once seemed to be a promising beginning. With two seasons under his belt before the age of 24, many were hopeful that in 2009 Flores could take the next step with his solid gap power and decent bat control. The backstop had a decent arm, averaging about 30% caught stealing, and blocked the plate well. However, as we all know, he couldn’t stay healthy enough to take the step into broader relavency.
The Nationals have to trade Flores now, however. At 26 he can still represent an important puzzle piece for antoher team that wants to take the gamble on his shoulder. If Washington were to wait a season or two to move Flores, his value would drop tremendously. Between Ivan Rodriguez and Wilson Ramos there will be plenty of talent at the backstop position. It’s simply time to part ways.