The Wild Things won’t be shopping for a new catcher this holiday season.
That’s because Jim Vahalik has been signed to a contract extension and will return for a third season with Washington.
Vahalik was acquired from the London Rippers in a trade in July of 2012.
A Westerville, Ohio, native and former University of Toledo player, Vahalik batted .260 with three home runs last year before suffering a season-ending wrist injury when hit by a pitch in a July game at Florence. A strong defensive catcher, Vahalik was named to the East Division roster for the Frontier League All-Star game but was unable to play because of the injury. It’s was Vahalik’s second all-star game selection.
Last season, after spending spring training in the Baltimore Orioles system, Vahalik threw out 26 percent of opposing base stealers.
“The strength of any team starts with the catcher and goes right up the middle,” Washington manager Bart Zeller said. “Words like gamer, intense, aggressive and leader can be used to describe Jim Vahalik. We just got a lot better with the return of Jim as our catcher. He works hard with our pitching staff, talks to them all the time about the game and is a wall behind the plate in blocking balls in the dirt. There are a lot of pitchers on our staff smiling now.”