The Mets have agreed to a two-year, $19 million contract with free agent catcher Wilson Ramos, according to multiple reports Sunday. The 31-year-old Venezuelan native should add much-needed punch to the position and to New York’s overall lineup provided he can stay healthy.
Splitting his 2018 season between the Rays and Phillies, the latter of which acquired him in a trade, Ramos batted .306 with an .845 OPS — both marks best among all catchers with at least 200 plate appearances — while hitting 15 home runs with 70 RBI over 111 games. Over the past three seasons, Ramos’s .826 OPS is second-best among all catchers with at least 1,000 plate appearances, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
Ramos’s defensive skills are considered to be more than acceptable given his offensive ability, which figures to stand in stark contrast to what the Mets got from their catchers in 2018. They trotted out five players at the position, primarily Kevin Plawecki and Devin Morasco after Travis d’Arnaud was lost to an early-season injury, and none batted over .222. The group combined for a .208 average with 17 home runs and 70 RBI.
The addition of Ramos has not been officially announced , but it is expected to end the Mets' pursuit of J.T. Realmuto, regarded as the top catcher available. Realmuto is only available via trade from the Marlins and New York reportedly balked at the price, choosing to hang onto some its young talent after surrendering several prospects in a trade with the Mariners for second baseman Robinson Cano and closer Edwin Diaz.
Under new general manager Brodie Van Wagenen, the Mets have also brought back relief pitcher Jeurys Familia, and they could still be shopping for outfield and bullpen help as well as possibly another candidate for the back end of their rotation. The team also met with another free agent catcher, Yasmani Grandal, during the winter meetings but preferred the cost of Ramos.
Nicknamed “The Buffalo,” Ramos reached the major leagues in 2010 with the Twins but was quickly traded to the Nationals, for whom he played through the 2016 season before signing with the Rays. In his final season in Washington, Ramos made the all-star team but tore his left ACL in September before playing in just 64 games in 2017.
The right-handed hitter received another all-star nod this year but he missed that game while out with a hamstring issue. In recent years he has also been sidelined with finger, elbow, rotator cuff and wrist injuries. The equally injury-plagued d’Arnaud is penciled in to be Ramos’s backup, at least for the time being, with Plawecki also in the picture.
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