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Report: Nationals' Jesus Flores On Astros Wish List At Catcher

According to Ben Gosseling of MASN, the Astros have asked their scouts to take a look at Nationals catcher Jesus Flores this week in preparation for a possible trade. Flores, 26, came over to the Nationals from the Mets in the Rule Five Draft. While he looked overmatched in his first two years in the bigs, he did hit .301 with four homers in 106 plate appearances last season before getting hurt. He isn’t arbitration eligible yet, but will be this offseason.

The source said they have asked their scouts to take a look this week at Jesus Flores, who might be available since the Nationals have Ivan Rodriguez and Wilson Ramos.

Catcher is a tricky position for the Nationals – they don’t know yet if Ramos is the real deal or if Flores is healthy, and the 39-year-old Rodriguez isn’t in the team’s long-term plans. But they also have Derek Norris, who might end up being the permanent solution at the position in the end, and if they got an offer for Flores they couldn’t pass up, they’d probably move him.

I doubt the Astros would be willing to offer a deal the Nationals couldn’t pass up for Flores, particularly considering the fact that Castro still is in their long-term plans, but should the Nationals decide to dump him, there are far worse catchers the Astros could be interested in. It would be a neat little trick to buy low on Flores, then give him a few months of at-bats and see if the Astros can turn him in for more than they paid for him.

The key, of course, is the buy low part. The Astros should be interested, but they shouldn’t be dealing the farm away to get anyone at this point. Expect more and more names like Flores’ to pop up as the Astros look to solve their catcher problem before the season starts.

EDIT: According to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com, the Astros are worried primarily about Flores' surgically repaired shoulder. Obviously the Astros value defense in their catchers, which is why Brad Ausmus was around for aeons, and if Flores can't really throw, it'd be a bad idea to trade for him. Here's McTaggart's whole quote:

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.

Sounds like nothing is imminent right now, but the Astros will probably decide towards the end of spring training once their scouts have checked him out a little further.

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