Wilson Ramos, C
At last! The prize of the offseason and the best signing made so far by Brodie Van Wagenen. Mets fans have been waiting since the departure of Paul Lo Duca in 2007 for an All-Star to emerge behind the dish. The list of sub-par catcher since is endless (Brian Schneider, Henry Blanco, Josh Thole, to name a few) and the d’Arnaud/Plawecki tandem looks to have finally come to a close.
Ramos is a dangerous bat to insert into any lineup. In an injury-shortened 2018, he slugged 22 doubles to go with 15 home runs. His .845 OPS is first among catchers who played in at least 100 games in 2018. Using that same 100 game minimum (while it may not be enough to qualify for a batting title), Ramos’ .306 average is highest among catchers by a landslide. The next closest is Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants with a .284 mark.
Ramos is also very well-known for his pitch framing and his ability to handle a staff. With the Mets’ young core of starting pitchers, bringing in a catcher with experience will without a doubt help the entire staff. Ramos knows a thing or two about working with talented pitching as he has caught the Max Scherzer-led Nationals, as well as reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell.
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With David Wright’s exit, Ramos can step up as a leader in the clubhouse and a voice for the younger players.
While a potent bat such as Ramos’ is deadly at any position, it should be mentioned that the catching market is very thin. Catchers are among the lowest producing offensive players in baseball this season. Along with Ramos, other big-name free agent catchers included Yasmani Grandal, Jonathan Lucroy, and Evan Gattis.
Ramos’ 2019 salary of $7,250,000 is only one-fourth of what the Mets are paying Yoenis Cespedes in a year that will be spent mostly on the disabled list. Ramos is likely to outproduce every other free agent catcher; the closest one will likely be Yasmani Grandal.
It was much smarter paying Ramos $19 million over 2 years than potentially giving up a combination of Noah Syndergaard/Michael Conforto/Brandon Nimmo/Amed Rosario, and prospects, all of whom are of tremendous importance to the team in 2019 and beyond, for J.T. Realmuto.
It looks like the Miami Marlins will have to wait for another team to rob. His right knee may worry some but Callaway will have to find a way to manage his innings behind the dish with (most likely) Travis d’Arnaud.
In the end, the Mets sign the top option in a paper-thin catching market and fill their long-time hole at catcher.