Catching market grows thinner with Buck to Mariners

Catching market grows thinner with Buck to Mariners
January 14, 2014, 2:15 pm
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With Wilson Ramos' injury history and a current backup plan of Chris Snyder and Jhonatan Solano, it would not be surprising to see the Nationals bring in another catcher to strengthen their depth at the position. 

If that is their intention, one of the best remaining free agent catchers is about to be off the market.

John Buck is close to a deal with the Seattle Mariners, according to a report from FoxSports.com. The 33-year-old is ranked as the 30th best free agent still available by HardballTalk.com and is one of only two catchers left in their original top 150.

Buck split last year with the New York Mets and Pittsburgh Pirates, batting .219 through 110 games with 15 home runs and 62 RBI. It was the best season he's posted since 2011 and one of the best of his career.

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Buck is expected to sign a one-year deal to provide catching depth behind starter Mike Zunino. A former third overall pick, Zunino figures to get most of the playing time.

The catching market is quite thin without Buck in the mix, signaling the Nats may be content with Snyder and Solano as their backups.