We all had enough of the J.T. Realmuto rumors during the Winter Meetings. Whether it meant the Mets were trading Brandon Nimmo, Amed Rosario or Noah Syndergaard, we just all had enough. Most Mets fans also did not want to hear anything to do with Martin Maldonado who is a quality defensive catcher who brings no value offensively.
While I believe getting defense behind the plate was important to the Mets, they also realized that there was a major issue scoring runs in 2018. At that point it came down to either Yasmani Grandal or Wilson Ramos. Grandal was likely costing a 4 year deal in the range of $60 million, and he was issued a Qualifying Offer, the Mets would have had to give up their 2nd round pick in the upcoming MLB Amateur Draft as well as $500,000 in International Bonus money. Ramos would have taken a lesser commitment and provides the bat the team wanted while not being a bad defensive catcher, so this fit made sense.
The Mets being able to land him for a 2 year $19 million deal with a 3rd year team option looks like an excellent value move for the team.
You happy with the Ramos signing?— The 7 Line (@The7Line) December 16, 2018
Ramos, 31, has missed time in his career with injuries, but when he has been on the field he is simply one of the best offensive catchers in all of baseball. Over the last 3 years he has averaged a .291 batting average, .334 on base percentage and .477 slugging percentage which is good for an .811 OPS. Via Fangraphs WAR, Ramos's 2018 season was worth 2.4 wins which when you do their calculation on WAR to dollars, his season was worth $19.2 million. Yes, Ramos's 2018 season was worth the entirety of his Mets contract.
Devan Fink at SB Nation's Beyond The Box Score tweeted out projections for the next two years of Ramos and projected he would be worth $43,284,500 in value. If the Mets don't pick up his 3rd year option and simply ride him for the 2 years $20.5 million (if they declined his 3rd year option there is a $1.5 million buyout) they would get almost $23 million in surplus value. That is insane!
As I mentioned above, the Mets definitely put some stock into defense for their catching position. According to Baseball Prospectus, Ramos graded out 45th among 117 eligible catchers behind the plate which would be a little above average. For reference, Kevin Plawecki ranked 93rd on this list. Ramos also threw out 29% of runners in 2018 which would be a step up from Kevin Plawecki at 23%. All in all the Mets improved behind the plate defensively from Plawecki.
Ramos has had an issue staying healthy in his career, but the Mets having options like Plawecki, Travis d'Arnaud and even Tomas Nido gives them the ability to give Ramos days here and there in attempts to keep him healthy. From 2015-2018, Ramos's games played by year are 128, 131, 64 and 111. If the Mets can have him more like 2015 and 2016 health wise that would be awesome.
This deal is not without risk, but I think the risk is mitigated with the value that was paid and the chance for them to get a major win in this contract is hard to ignore. The Mets improved offensively and defensively behind the plate without losing any pieces from their roster or farm system, and without surrendering draft pick compensation. That is what I call a win-win.
Brodie Van Wagenen has made some good additions to the roster with the trade for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz, bringing back Jeurys Familia and now Wilson Ramos. The Mets cannot be done as they have a need in the outfield, left handed reliever, utility infielder and some starting pitching depth. I think a run at AJ Pollock could be legitimate possibility, as well as maybe some mystery trade candidates that we are not aware of to fill the outfield spot. As far as left handed reliever, my eyes would be on Tony Sipp, Luis Avilan and Xavier Cedeno as free agents, but maybe there is a market for Kevin Plawecki that can net you a young, controllable left handed reliever. Either way, Brodie Van Wagenen's job is not done. He is off to a great start to make the 2019 Mets a contender, but there is still work to do. LGM!
I wish the #Mets would be willing to support a ~$175M payroll. If you moved Lagares and his $9M you could give Bryce Harper $35M a year and make yourself a legitimate WS contender while being far from the luxury tax. It’s a shame they *probably* wont go to that level.— Joe DeMayo (@PSLToFlushing) December 17, 2018