The New York Mets have an option on Wilson Ramos for 2021 but would serve themselves better by going in a different direction.
Wilson Ramos is in the second year of his two-year $19M deal with a 2021 team option for an additional $10M. Ramos would be in his age 33 season in 2021. As a guy who has had a history with injuries and staying on the field, having only played in 120 games or more three times in ten years, he is not someone I would like to see return to the New York Mets for the final year of his deal.
His issues with staying healthy have stemmed from his lower half, having had a torn ACL on two different occasions and a hamstring injury years ago. This is a serious issue for a guy squatting behind the plate for nine innings multiple times a week.
Outside of Ramos’ health concerns, his defense was absolutely terrible in his first season. Ramos allowed a whopping 94 stolen bases and only caught 17 baserunners trying to steal, resulting in a 15% caught stealing, well below the league average of 26%. He allowed 10 passed balls which tied a career-high, committed 7 errors which were his second-most and had -13 defensive runs saved per 1,200 innings which was also career-worst. For a team with as good pitching as the Mets, they need somebody who can be better defensively behind the plate.
The Mets do have multiple ways to go to replace Ramos in 2021 if they do decide to decline his option. There is the obvious way of going to free agency which has some solid names this year, they could trade for a catcher, or they could even go internally in the organization. Let’s take a look at who could replace Ramos next season.
The 2020-2021 offseason catcher free agent list will be headlined by All-Star J.T Realmuto. I would love to have Realmuto as much as the next person as he is one of, if not the best catcher in the league, but I do not see it happening. He plays stellar defense and has a great bat, but the Mets will not likely be able to afford the contract he is looking for. Somebody with solid defense and a lesser bat seems like the most likely option.
Mike Zunino is a guy the Mets could bring in on a short term deal. He is a low-risk high reward as his contract this year is only paying him $4.5M. He is good defensively and has solid pop, but he does struggle to put the ball in play as he is a career .202 hitter and strikes out a lot. The Mets do have a deep lineup though with a lot of young hitters and could technically afford to have Zunino since he does play good defense and other guys could pick up for him offensively.
Another guy who could and should be on the Mets radar is James McCann. He just came off a career year in 2019 and has a decent bat with decent defense. Although McCann has been pretty decent both offensively and defensively, his health may be a bit of concern as he has never played more than 118 games in a season in his 6 years. As long as McCann gets 1-2 days off a week I think he would be just fine as it gives him time to rest and stay healthy for a whole season.
One guy who could be dealt is Salvador Perez. He just had Tommy John Surgery and missed the entire 2019 season so he could be dealt as a result. He is signed through the 2021 season and is owed just over $14M.
For a team that is not likely to contend, the Royals could look into shedding salary, and Perez would most likely be that guy to go. He is a former gold glover, silver slugger, and All-Star and was always a pretty strong player If the Royals ate some of his salary we could very well see Perez in the orange and blue.
One other guy who could be on the trade block is Martin Maldonado. Maldonado did just sign a 2-year deal with the Astros for 2020-2021, but he could still very well be traded. The Astros have two other catchers on the 40-man roster and have a top prospect who is expected to roll around to the majors in 2022.
If he stays on track for 2022 or even a little earlier the Astros could look into trading Maldonado this offseason or sometime next season since they have other younger guys to replace him.
The first in house option the Mets would go to would be Tomas Nido. Nido has obviously struggled at the plate in his brief career, but he has hit well in the minors. If Nido could make the transition or even be part of the hitter he was in the minors, he could be a decent catcher paired with his solid defense.
One other guy who has a good shot of playing in Queens soon is prospect Ali Sanchez. Sanchez had a strong year in AA last year but struggled when he was promoted to AAA. His minor league career has shown him to be a decent hitter as well as scouts have said. He is looked at as a good defensive catcher so we could very well see him challenge Nido for a starting catcher role in the event that Ramos is gone.
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Where do you think the Mets should go to replace Ramos?