It’s been a busy day for the American League East. Though the Boston Red Sox made the biggest waves, the Tampa Bay Rays also got in on the action. Late Monday evening, the Rays reached a two-year agreement with free agent catcher Wilson Ramos. The deal is reportedly worth $12.5 million, with incentives that could bring it up to $18.25 million. Joel Sherman was first to break the news.
#Rays are in agreement with Ramos on 2-yr deal pending physical and that physical is a big deal because of knee
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) December 7, 2016
Ramos get $12.5M with playing time incentives to make 18.25M over 2 #rays
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 7, 2016
Wilson Ramos Joins Tampa Bay Rays
Ramos, 29, began his major league career in 2010 with the Minnesota Twins, but was traded to the Washington Nationals early that year. A lifetime .269 hitter, Ramos had a career year in 2016. He batted .303 with 22 home runs, 80 RBI, and an .850 OPS. If healthy, the young catcher should be a good get for Tampa Bay.
However, that is a big “if”. As with all free agent signings, Ramos’ deal is official pending the results of his physical. However, with Ramos, that physical is more significant than it is for others. Despite his great season, the market for Ramos’ services was thinner than it might have been had he stayed healthy last season. Unfortunately, Ramos tore the ACL in his right knee near the end of September. As a result, teams were wary in approaching him with offers.
While Ramos certainly still has the talent to be a top-tier backstop, especially considering his offensive abilities, it bears watching to see how his knee will hold up over the course of a full season. Running the bases is one thing, but, as a catcher, Ramos must stay in a crouch while in the field every day. That can wear down even the healthiest knees. If he makes a full recovery, then the Rays will have a potential All Star behind the dish. If he doesn’t, then he may have to switch positions at some point.