Picking up the third-year option on Wilson Ramos’ contract doesn’t seem like such a good idea for the New York Mets even if he has a good 2020 season.
One of the offseason decisions the New York Mets will need to make involves catcher Wilson Ramos. I’m a fan of his. Maybe it’s the nickname with endless GIFs, tattoos, or occasionally hot bat that convinced me Ramos was a good fit for the Mets in 2021.
It’s also pretty easy to retain him. The team has a club option on him for next year which can save them from getting into some big offseason battle for an upgrade via trade or free agency.
As time goes on, I’m souring on the idea. Ramos is getting closer to his mid-30s and may not have the bat to justify his contract.
From a catcher, there are a few things I want. If the man can hit like Mike Piazza, I can accept horrific defense. That’s the cost of having a guy slug 30 home runs a year.
Ramos is nowhere near Piazza at the plate. He’s also not Jerry Grote behind it.
In his time with the Mets, the biggest criticism for Ramos has been the way he performs on defense. Whether it’s his fielding abilities or just how he calls the game, the Buffalo has not done much to help his reputation as a catcher.
Defense has been a major topic for the Mets for several years. It’s not so much how well they can field the ball as much as the discussion involves how poorly they do so and possible solutions to rectify it.
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With a catcher, I think it’s valuable to have a general behind the dish. Ramos isn’t a complete dud but I do think the team can upgrade. Even at the cost of losing his sometimes productive bat, this team could look a whole lot better with a defense-first catcher making less money with the savings going toward an offensive upgrade elsewhere.
The idea of going a whole year with Tomas Nido at catcher doesn’t sound right to me.
However, a guy like James McCann could work. He’ll cost less than the $10 million Ramos would make if his option is picked up and possibly provide them with better defense and a good enough bat. He has veteran experience and a long enough track record to show he’s worth a look.
Many Mets fans will hope for something bigger. J.T. Realmuto is the biggest free agent catcher. I suspect a few trade candidates will also have their names whispered in the rumors. I would prefer to invest in a player at a different position than the one that gets battered around the most.
At 33, Ramos is expected to start seeing a decline in his game. This is the life of a professional athlete. In particular, it’s the way things go for catchers not named Yadier Molina.
We’ve seen the Mets experiment lightly in 2020 with lineups featuring more favorable defensive alignments. The results have been good. The more games it wins them this year, the more likely we are to see them lean in a different direction with future roster decisions.
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The relationship between a catcher and the pitching staff is an often underrated part of the game. Regardless of what they do with his third-year option, the Mets will need to move on from Ramos soon. The process can be expedited with a preference for a different kind of catcher; the type that comes to the ballpark with his glove first, bat second.