Washington Nationals: Farewell, Wilson Ramos
By Ron Juckett
Wilson Ramos wants a long-term deal in free agency. The Washington Nationals will likely pass on a deal that long, ending his stay.
Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos reportedly wants a four- or five-year contract in free agency. That development effectively ends his time with the Washington Nationals.
Before tearing his right anterior cruciate ligament a second time September 26 after a rain delay against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Ramos deserved that kind of deal. This season saw “The Buffalo” emerge as a fan favorite and an All-Star.
Slamming a career-best 22 home runs and hitting .307, Ramos, at 28, had the definition of a breakout year. When the Nats lowballed him with their initial reported contract offer of three-years, $30 million, he wisely turned it down. There was no reason he could not command a deal similar to New York Yankees catcher Brian McCann’s five-year, $85 million deal.
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On the soggy mud of Nationals Park, everything changed.
Instead of the big payday, Ramos will miss a big portion of the 2017 season and likely will become a designated hitter/catcher combination in the American League. Since the Nationals play in the National League, they will look elsewhere to fill the hole.
In his seven seasons in the District, Ramos played in 578 games. He swatted 83 homers, 566 hits and likely leaves with an Adjusted OPS+ of 100. Although the number is right on the average spot, his ability to handle pitchers and spur the Nats to two postseason runs makes his contribution to Washington anything but average.
We know the Nationals will kick the tires on Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters via free agency or McCann. Pedro Severino is the Nats’ catcher of tomorrow. A strong spring could see him take the full-time reigns as early as next April. Perhaps a trade chip when Ramos was healthy, Severino now has the pressure of performing now.
Major League Baseball is a business. If this is the end of Ramos in Washington, there are no hard feelings. He helped Max Scherzer turn into a truly dominant pitcher and guided the development of Stephen Strasburg.
When the team pushed fans into Ramos winning the last player into the All-Star Game vote this past July, it said everything you needed to know about how management felt. He may not have received a McCann deal from Washington if healthy, but he was about to get the financial security every player desires.
Now, he may stay for a year or two and test the open waters again at 30 when he is healthy. Severino could play well enough while Ramos heals that they split the time upon Ramos’ return.
Chances of that are remote. Ramos may, with his second injury, never be able to catch regularly ever again. He can DH and learn to play first base, but those are positions the Nats have no need.
Instead, Ramos deserves a hearty round of applause for the incredible player he developed into and well wishes for his next chapter. Even if it is up the road in Baltimore.