Mets sign Wilson Ramos to two-year deal, giving them the catcher they've been chasing

Jeff PassanMLB columnist

Catcher Wilson Ramos is joining the New York Mets, sources familiar with the deal told Yahoo Sports, on a new contract that is reportedly worth $19.5 million over two years. The agreement is pending a physical.

It gives the Mets — who continue to act boldly in the Brodie Van Wagenen era — the catcher they’ve been chasing and means they’re out of the trade sweepstakes for Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto. It also gives Ramos more of the free-agent payday he was in line for two years ago before a nasty knee injury in a home-plate collision wrecked his market. According to reports, Ramos’ contract could be worth as much as $26 million if the Mets exercise a third-year option.

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The Mets had been one of the primary teams interested in Realmuto. Trade rumors involving the Marlins catcher were a constant during the winter meetings, including a three-team trade involving the New York Yankees. The Mets, however, decided the best way to end their catcher chase was spending some money.

The 31-year-old Ramos was barreling toward a $50 million-plus deal during the 2016 season when he tore an ACL and meniscus during a home-plate collision. He signed a two-year deal, $12.5 million contract with the Tampa Bay Rays that winter, spent a majority of 2017 nursing himself back to health and returned last year with a season nearly identical to his All-Star campaign in ’16.

Between his time with the Rays and the Philadelphia Phillies, who acquired him at the trade deadline, Ramos hit .306/.358/.487 with 15 home runs and 70 RBIs. While scouts consider his defense average at best and his framing numbers are middle of the pack, Ramos’ bat is among the best at the position. Of catchers with at least 1,000 plate appearances over the past three seasons, Ramos’ OPS of .826 is second, behind Gary Sánchez and ahead of Buster Posey, Willson Contreras and fellow free agent Yasmani Grandal.

Philadelphia Phillies’ Wilson Ramos is doused by Odubel Herrera after the Phillies’ 7-4 win in a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox, Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018, in Philadelphia. (AP)
Philadelphia Phillies’ Wilson Ramos is doused by Odubel Herrera after the Phillies’ 7-4 win in a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox, Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018, in Philadelphia. (AP)

Along with Grandal, Ramos headlines a deep class of free-agent catchers, which includes Jonathan Lucroy, Martin Maldonado, Evan Gattis, Robinson Chirinos, Brian McCann, Matt Wieters, Devin Mesoraco and Nick Hundley.

A handful of teams expressed early interest in Ramos, with the Atlanta Braves, Houston Astros, Los Angeles Angels and New York Mets among his top suitors. Neither the Rays, who acquired Mike Zunino from the Seattle Mariners in a trade, nor the Phillies, who want young Jorge Alfaro to get the lion’s share of at-bats, were among those who heavily pursued Ramos.

Until his All-Star turns in ’16 and ’18, Ramos was perhaps best known for a 2011 incident in which kidnappers in his homeland of Venezuela held him for ransom for two days before a military operation rescued him.

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