The New York Mets have agreed to a two-year contract pending a physical with free-agent catcher Wilson Ramos on Sunday afternoon, according to the Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. The deal will pay him $19 million over two years with a $7 million team option in 2021, per Ken Davidoff of the New York Post.
Ramos spent last season with the Tampa Bay Rays and Philadelphia Phillies, batting .306 with 15 home runs and 70 RBI.
The 31-year-old has been one of the more productive offensive catchers in baseball over the past three seasons, posting 162-game averages of .298 with 26 home runs and 98 RBI. However, injuries have withheld him from getting anywhere near that 162-game mark.
His All-Star 2016 campaign as a member of the Washington Nationals was cut short after he tore his ACL. It was his best season as a pro, slashing .307/.354/.496 with 22 home runs and 80 RBI.
Recovery from the injury limited him to just 64 games in 2017 with the Rays before appearing in 111 games last year which culminated in another All-Star Game selection. However, hamstring injuries plagued him throughout the summer.
The recent injury history is likely cause for concern for Mets fans, who have watched their franchise unravel over the past three seasons due to health issues. But new general manager Brodie Van Wagenen is willing to take the risk of bringing on a top-three offensive catcher in the game.
Entering the offseason, one of the Mets’ biggest areas to address was the catcher’s position as Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki continued to disappoint behind the dish. D’Arnaud is expected to be Ramos’ backup in 2019.
The Mets were one of the most aggressive pursuers of Miami Marlins star catcher JT Realmuto as the two clubs were in negotiations at Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings in Las Vegas last week.
Realmuto — who held the league’s highest WAR in 2018 — prompted the Marlins to ask for a steep return from the Mets as notable names like Noah Syndergaard, Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, and Amed Rosario were initially included in trade talks.
As talks broke down, which included a proposed three-team deal with the New York Yankees, the Mets also talked to Yasmani Grandal. Signing the former Los Angeles Dodger would have forced the Mets to give up their second-highest draft pick and $500,000 in international bonus pool money, per Rosenthal.
Now the Mets are able to keep some of their best assets as Van Wagenen continues to try and mold the franchise into a contender. There are still some items left to be checked off his to-do list this winter as a right-handed center fielder and a left-handed reliever are needed.