The Nationals have signed catcher Luis Torrens to a minor league deal, the club announced. Washington also confirmed its previously reported signing of designated hitter Franmil Reyes to a non-roster pact.
Torrens joins his third organization of 2023. He opened the year with the Cubs on a minor league deal and cracked the Opening Day roster. Working as a third catcher, he appeared in 13 games and hit 22 times before being designated for assignment. The Cubs traded Torrens to the Orioles for cash but he spent just a few days in Baltimore prior to being DFA for a second time. After going unclaimed on waivers, he chose minor league free agency and heads to Washington.
It’s a sensible depth add for the Nats. Washington saw veteran backstop Kevin Plawecki opt out of a minor league deal earlier in the week. Torrens will take his spot as a veteran catcher at Triple-A Rochester. He has appeared in parts of six MLB seasons. Torrens’ best year came with the Mariners in 2021, when he hit .243/.299/.431 with 15 home runs in a career-high 378 plate appearances. He stumbled to a .225/.283/.298 showing in 57 games the next year, though, leading Seattle to run him through waivers twice.
Public defensive metrics have pegged Torrens as a below-average pitch framer and blocker. His career 21.7% caught stealing rate is a few percentage points below par, though he cut down an excellent 32.1% of basestealers last season.
The Nationals have three catchers on the 40-man roster. Israel Pineda has spent the entire year on the minor league injured list with a broken finger, leaving Keibert Ruiz and Riley Adams as their only healthy backstops. Ruiz, whom the Nats signed to a $50MM extension over the winter, is entrenched as the starter. The 26-year-old Adams has played just seven times as the backup, hitting .192/.250/.346 in 29 plate appearances. Adams still has a minor league option year remaining, so Washington could eventually turn to another #2 backstop if they’d like to get him more consistent reps in Triple-A.