Since being acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays at the trade deadline, Wilson Ramos has been pretty consistent with what he was acquired to do. The Phillies wanted more offense from the catcher position and they have gotten it. Since July 31 (and through Thursday’s game), Ramos has hit at a cool .397/.446/.562 with the team, with 15 runs batted in, 9 extra base hits out of his 25 total, good enough to amass 1.0 bWAR in these 74 plate appearances. Defensively, he hasn’t been as good as Jorge Alfaro at framing pitches, but he hasn’t been a disaster either. All in all, he’s been exactly what the team hoped for when they traded for him.
With the season winding down, many people who believe the team to be out of the pennant or wild card chases have begun looking ahead to free agency and players the team might be acquiring. With all of the roster juggling they’ll have to do - the infield and outfield situations seem to be less settled than they were at the beginning of the year - there is sure to be a lot of new roster construction ahead to build a team that suits what they are trying to do organizationally. The questions with Ramos becomes: what do they do with him?
Let’s start by ruling out a qualifying offer. This year, it projects to be about $18 million to give a player if he chooses to accept the QO. We can probably safely rule out that the team does not view Ramos as being worth that much money, even if money isn’t much of an object to them heading into 2019 and beyond. Reason being it doesn’t offer them much control beyond that one year. If there is a history we can see with this front office wants as much control over the future of their players as possible (see the Santana and Arrieta deals) Instead, they would probably offer him something in a neighborhood of a one year deal with some kind of option, be that the more likely team option or a player option. The possibility exists that would go further and offer him a longer guaranteed contract, say two to three years, or they could get really nuts and choose to go past three years guaranteed. Heck, they might even choose to offer him nothing, opting to turn the reins back over to Alfaro and instead searching for a cheaper backup option. What is the best option?
To get a sense of what we as staff are thinking, I did an informal poll of The Good Phight staff to get their opinion. Here are the results:
Not that surprising right? Two of the fifteen responses would not re-sign him, while everyone else was in favor of the Ramos returning. I won’t tell you who did what because it was anonymous and I don’t know. The next question I asked was the inevitable follow-up: what kind of deal would you give Ramos?
Again, there really isn’t much a surprise here. People mostly want the “optionality” of bringing him back on the team’s terms by including the option, while others are willing to guarantee at least that second year to him.
What does any of this mean? Nothing really, except most of us want to see him return. He’s been a very good hitter while here and even if it is a smaller sample size, he has enough of a track record to base a contract on in his past that you could feel pretty confident the return on the contract would be worth it. He’s always hit for power, doesn’t walk all that much, but doesn’t strikeout at the rate Alfaro is currently doing. The team could conceivably continue their timeshare program with the two guys, giving Alfaro a chance to continue to regularly improve his plate approach while keeping the oft-injured Ramos relatively healthy with a smaller workload. It really shouldn’t be much of a question about bringing him back.
The question will be for how long. If the team truly believes in Alfaro’s bat (the glove has been very good), keeping Ramos beyond 2019 doesn’t seem the best deployment of resources. Were he to get a team option added on to a one year deal, that would benefit the team and give them longer to evaluate him next season. Guaranteeing him two seasons or more would almost certainly get him to sign on a dotted line, but with his injury history, would the team really want to commit that roster spot to an aging catcher who just can’t be counted on to stay healthy?
So, I’ll leave you with this. If you were Matt Klentak:
What would you do with regards to Wilson Ramos beyond 2018?
This poll is closed
Let him walk in free agency
re-sign him for one year only
re-sign him for one year + a team option
re-sign him for one year + a player option
re-sign him for two or more years