Answering some comments
Explain more about your Wild Card tweet
So I said that the modern relief usage undercut the theory behind the introduction of the Wild Card game. The move to a WC playoff game happened for several reasons (never forget $$$) but primarily because it didn't seem like disadvantage to be a Wild Card or an advantage to play one. In order to correct that they added an extra team and a one-game playoff, the theory being that
1) teams would want to win the division rather than leave their playoff fate to a single game
2) WC teams that won that single game would have exhausted their best pitchers giving the #1 seed a decided advantage in their playoff series.
The first point holds absolutely true. No one wants to be the WC if the division is winnable. But the second point grows less meaningful every year. Teams have grown very successful at cultivating the 5-6 IP starter and the strong bullpen as a way to succeed lessening the need for a strong Johnson/Schilling like 1-2 punch. You may have noticed many teams in this years playoff lacked that #1 guy. Even if they do have a true ace, it matters less than you would think. If they do run them out in that WC game, that's fine because as described above they no longer lean on that ace as they did even 5 years ago. They lean on the pen. And as was pointed out to me, when you are battling for the WC you often aren't thinking about setting up the WC game. That means you might have used your ace at the end of the year making them unlikely to pitch in the WC game and thus ready to pitch twice in that DS.
All in all the new playoff format does give wild card teams a significant disadvantage. No one wants to play a single-game elimination to start the playoffs. But as for giving division winners that play the Wild Card a significant advantage, that hasn't happened and I'm not sure it can be done. If you are in the playoffs, you are good and in a short series against a good team, even the best can go down.
Maybe Ramos overswung to compensate for lost power and that led to a bad September.
Maybe but in August he had by far his best slugging month. 6 homers, a .241 isoSLG (which is really good). So then you are saying he overswung in August it worked but pitchers caught on and got to him in Sept? Or even less likely he was swinging regularly in August and then said "I want to hit 10 homers in September! I'm King of the Homers!" and started overswinging... I don't see it. I'm sticking to getting tired.
Trade for Blake Swihart!
The Red Sox have two very good catching prospects and have given first crack at the position to the defensively superior Christian Vazquez, so Swihart may be available (maybe - they are most likely going to see if Vazquez hits ok this season before doing anything and they could try to move Swihart to another position if he hits like crazy). Can the Nats deal for him? Sure. But it's going to take a lot. Like Cole or Taylor + something a lot. That's the going rate. I don't think it's worth it.
We should be ready to trade for a mid-season catching replacement
Agree. If Ramos goes down again you can't rely on Lobaton to catch 100 games. Now if Ramos is simply struggling I think you have to wait it out until at least the trade deadline.
Sucks to be having this discussion now
Sign Martin, make Ramos back-up, trade Lobaton.
Sure. It's not my money.
Wait, what is your 1B plan again?
Ok MY 1B plan would be Zimmerman with Daric Barton as a back-up (plays against tough RHP and comes in for D if Zimm doesn't adapt like we think he will). With the contingency plan that if Zimm gets injured again, Barton doesn't play 1B regularly, Werth does and one of the young OFs (Souza/Taylor) come in to replace him.
In the comments I've inferred that some (most?) want it to be Zimm with Werth as the defacto back-up, and when he gives Zimm a day off a young guy comes in for Werth. That's fine by me too, but I like the Barton idea because the lefty bat and good defense is a good foil for Ryan. It makes sense for your back-ups to have complementary skills.
What about Souza at 1B?
Seems like a waste of his skills as he's a better OF than Werth or Bryce.
Will Werth except the move? Does the fact he's still in RF rather than LF prove he's stubborn about it?
No idea. I'd like to think the guy will be receptive to moving and even if he's not at first, can be shown that he's not a good OF anymore. I don't know. As for the LF thing, they put Bryce in LF because Werth was set at the time in RF and now LF is what Bryce knows so they probably don't want to move him. Werth also thought at the time, take this for what you will, that LF being the easier position was the better position for Bryce to learn to play the OF. He didn't seem against moving at some point. It's all a funny confidence guessing game at times.
Daric Barton? He stinks! And he hits lefties better historically.
True (on the last point) but that hasn't been true the last few years. He's become a more typical lefty bat hitting righties better than lefties. I give heavy weight to the recent history especially when it covers more than just the last year.
Werth might just be awful in the IF, you ever think about that?
Sure maybe. It's worth a look I think but you're right. He may be terrible at fielding grounders quickly. If so, I want to hear that, though. (not that I expect to, but I'd want to)
Stephen Vogt! He hits left-handed can catch and play first.
Good idea, but your latter thought, that the A's would want to keep him, is on point. He not a FA until 2020 and isn't arb eligible for a few years. He's not just cheap he's super cheap. Now Jaso is a possibility... if you like terrible catching.
Doesn't the first baseman have to make throws?
Ummm... yes. But it's the position where that's the least important so you stick Zimm there and hope over the course of the season he adapts and is ok by the end. No, it's not perfect but it's the best decision.