Among the many things the New York Mets need to upgrade this coming offseason, the catcher’s spot is one of the most important things. Wilson Ramos could be the answer.
The 31-year-old veteran — currently playing for the division-rival Philadelphia Phillies — will become a free agent following the 2018 season, making him one of the most highly-coveted options at his position on the market.
Ramos is a two-time All-Star, both appearances coming over the past three seasons. He looked poised for stardom and a huge contract in 2016, which was also a walk year, batting .307 with 20 home runs and 80 RBI with the Washington Nationals. However, a torn ACL at the end of the season saw the market dry up for him as he signed with the Tampa Bay Rays.
In 142 games over one-plus seasons with the Rays, Ramos proved that he is still an offensive threat. He batted .281 with 25 home runs and 88 RBI before he was dealt to the Phillies at the 2018 trade deadline.
He’s been red-hot with the Phillies over the 23 games he’s played, slashing .382/.436/.559 with 14 RBI.
Should he stay healthy, the market will be bustling for him considering offensively-gifted catchers are extremely hard to come by in Major League Baseball.
Wilson Ramos and the New York Mets
While he won’t discuss his offseason plans just yet, Ramos did admit that he wouldn’t mind working with a talented Mets pitching staff. And he stressed his defensive play rather than his bat.
“I like to work with those kinds of rotations they have because I feel like I can help with my experience,” Ramos said (h/t New York Post). “Every time I am behind the plate, I try to help my guys on the mound. I love when we put zeroes on the scoreboard. That is my priority.”
That experience would be paramount for a talented Mets rotation that includes National League Cy Young favorite Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler.
Ramos would provide a significant upgrade at the position for a franchise that has been waiting on Travis d’Arnaud to develop into a franchise catcher.
Originally the headliner of the deal that sent R.A. Dickey to the Toronto Blue Jays (which also included a little-known Syndergaard), d’Arnaud’s offensive game has struggled to find any sort of consistency. Especially because injuries have been so prevalent during his development.
It’s forced the Mets to platoon him with Kevin Plawecki, who has shown that he can’t handle himself at a major-league level in the batter’s box with a .222 career batting average.
When both d’Arnaud and Plawecki went down during the 2018 season, the Mets were forced to call up Tomas Nido, another light-hitting catcher and acquire Devin Mesoraco from the Cincinnati Reds. Neither has indicated that they could be a long-term answer.
Ramos would quickly slot in as the team’s No. 1 catcher while allowing the team to hold onto their top prospects. That wouldn’t be the case if the Mets made a move for Miami Marlins star backstop J.T. Realmuto.
But for a team that has problems flashing the cash to get good players, the Mets might balk on Ramos should he ask for a substantial raise from the $10.5 million he’s making this season.