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Mets Need To Hit Reset Button And Trade Wilson Ramos

When the signing happened, it seemed like the Mets made the right decision in signing Wilson Ramos to a two year deal. Ramos was coming off a year with a 131 wRC+, and he was comfortable in the National League East. With the state of catching in the majors, Ramos was that rare impact bat behind the plate, and the Mets were getting him on a short-term deal.

If we are being honest, the Ramos signing has not worked out well for the Mets.

At the time Dave Eiland and Chuck Hernandez were fired, Matt Ehalt of Yahoo reported Ramos was “causing frustration.” It should be noted at the time of this report, Tomas Nido had already become Jacob deGrom‘s de facto personal catcher. Ramos has caught deGrom since, but for the most part, it has predominantly been Nido catching deGrom.

As reported by Joel Sherman and Mike Puma of the New York Post, the Mets have also opted to make Nido the personal catcher for Noah Syndergaard. Unlike with deGrom, the Mets admitted this was the case when Mickey Callaway saying, “With what we’re trying to do with Syndergaard, keeping the ball down, [Nido] is a good complementary catcher for him. He receives the ball down better, so it’s something we have to continue to do.”

With the Mets top two starters having Nido as their personal catcher, the Mets have gone from having Ramos as their starter to creating a time share behind the plate. This has been the result of a number of factors.

First and foremost, Nido is the superior defensive catcher. For example, Ramos leads the Majors in passed balls, and Mets pitchers have 17 wild pitches with him behind the plate. On more than one occasion, you were left wondering about Ramos’ effort level or technique on balls in the dirt.

From a pitch framing perspective, Baseball Prospectus rates Nido as the 27th best pitch framer. Of the top 30, he has the second fewest chances. Ramos is ranked 85th. This is something Callaway had eluded to when speaking about Nido becoming Syndergaard’s personal catcher.

The main issue with Ramos isn’t his catching, it’s his bat. On the surface, he seems fine with a 103 wRC+ which ranks as the fourth best among qualified catchers. That’s even above J.T. Realmuto, who was a top Mets trade target this offseason. When you expand the search to catchers with 150 plate appearances, Ramos’ wRC+ ranks 14th.

While ranking well among catchers, this is not the 130 wRC+ catcher the Mets signed this offseason. It’s not a bat sufficient enough to carry his poor defense behind the plate. There are some warning signs this can get worse with the 31 year old having a career worst GB% and GB/FB ratio with his worst ISO in four years.

Fact is the Ramos signing has not panned out, and the signs indicate there may not be any improvement next year. If the opportunity presents itself, the Mets should push to move him at the trade deadline. Of course, that is easier said than done with many of the postseason contenders being either fairly set at catcher, being near their luxury tax thresholds, or both.

Still, if the opportunity presents itself, the Mets should make the move. It will give the team an extended look at Nido behind the plate while also possibly getting a look at Ali Sanchez, who is Rule 5 eligible, as a defensive backup. It would also given them an opportunity to pursue Yasmani Grandal in the offseason.

Grandal appears to be the one who got away. So far this season, Grandal has been the top catcher in baseball as rated by fWAR, and he is second according to wRC+. As Grandal recently said, “You never know, you have another offseason in which it could happen. Everything happens for a reason. I believe in that. I am here because that didn’t happen. It was crazy. [The Mets] were definitely the front-runner. They were pushing really hard. We were just too far apart.” (Joel Sherman, New York Post).

If the Mets can move Ramos at the trade deadline, that’s $11.75 million off next year’s budget. With Todd Frazier, Juan Lagares, and Zack Wheeler being impending free agents, and presuming Jason Vargas‘ option is declined, along with other expiring deals, there will be an approximately $21 million more coming off the books. That is more than enough payroll room to push the reset button on the Ramos decision to bring in Grandal this coming offseason.

Overall, there were many things which went wrong this past offseason, but the more you look at it, Ramos has been one of the bigger missteps, especially when you consider how the Mets best pitchers no longer want to pitch to him. Based upon his track record, they will like pitching to Grandal, and the Mets will enjoy his bat in the lineup. As a result, the Mets need to push to trade Ramos at the deadline.

7 thoughts on “Mets Need To Hit Reset Button And Trade Wilson Ramos”

  1. tom says:

    mets need to trade ramos, frazier, familla, vargas, lowrie and get what they can for them
    dfa lagares
    get rid of cano even if it includes dom smith.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      No one is taking Lowrie, and I don’t see a point in DFAing Lagares because the Mets gave zero organizational depth behind him.

    2. Blair M. Schirmer says:

      @tom Agree on Vargas and Frazier, but selling low on Ramos when he’s the Mets best catcher and they have no one to take his place only hurts them. (I’ve long thought the G Steinbrenner Yankees would have signed Grandal to start and Ramos to back him up, but that’s not happening w these Mets.)

      They won’t get anything for Familia, but they also need to stop letting him pitch until he heals. It’s ludicrous to keep sending him out to the mound. They did the same with Vargas late last April and sent him out for something like 9 starts when it was obvious he was pitching hurt. Good teams never do this–they never keep sending players who are obviously injured to the mound to blow up the team’s chances. Find the injury, get the doctor’s report, and get him out of there and into the minors or rehab until he can pitch again. It’s ridiculous.

      Lagares is a 1/3-time player and the Mets have played him into the ground. They should pace him from here on out… but it doesn’t matter. No one’s trading more than a literal bag of baseballs for him prior to July 31st and that’s w the Mets picking up 98% of his salary. Same with Lowrie. There are some guys you can trade while they’re on the IL, but Lowrie’s not one of them unless the Mets want to eat most of his salary and get some team’s 40th best prospect. Why sell low, though, when Lowrie’s upside is a 3 win player in 2020? They might as well hang onto him, assume he won’t contribute, build the 2020 team as if he won’t help, and be pleasantly surprised if he can take over 2B from Cano or… whomever.

      re Cano no one would take him and the 4/79m still owed him if the Mets threw in Dom Smith. Smith has all of 157 good PAs to his name. He’s worth… 10m? Guys like Smith burn out all the time after a good 1/4 of a season.

      What about packaging Jeff McNeil with Cano to unload the latter without picking up salary? (I wouldn’t do it, but it’s the kind of thing that’s interesting to think about–what would the Mets have to do to dump Cano’s salary?) Say McNeil is 4 win player. His acquiring team would have him for 2020-2024, or 5 seasons. He’s old for his MLB experience, and will tend to go into his decline phase starting in 2021. Figure he’ll be worth 15 WAR to his new team as he declines, and they’ll pay him 2 minimal salaries then arb awards amounting to 40, 60, and 80% of his FA value, or about 1.8 * 15m = 27m.

      Make it 30m in salary versus his projectable value of 15 * 9m = 135m. So, yeah, the Mets could send away McNeil and Cano and expect to get back a modest talent–someone worth about 55m in surplus value. That’s a decent player, but it also shows how hideous the Cano contract is. McNeil would be too much too include, but the Mets could not get a team like the Dodgers or Yankees to take deGrom and Cano in a straight up deal for some 32 yo in A-ball with no future. That wouldn’t be close to enough. Maybe a package of deGrom, Smith, Rosario and Nido would be enough to get a team to take on Cano and his salary?

  2. OldBackstop says:

    Whatever. We have the worst defense and the worst bullpen in baseball, flipping catchers doesn’t right the ship;.Rivera and Mezz were fine back there, as are Plawecki and D;Arnaud.

    Go away: Callaway, Ramos, Lagares, Matz, Familia, Rosario

    Get Cano to massively rework the next four years,

    Hire: David Wright as manager

    Trade. Thor or Alonso for arm any up the middle blue chips

    Extend Wheeler right now.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Going back to Grandal significantly improves everything, and it makes zero sense to purge your young talent while extending Wheeler.

  3. Blair M. Schirmer says:

    Mainstream writers like Jay Jaffe were noting that adding Ramos only added about a win to the 2019 Mets. That was before the foolish Plawecki deal, of course. Still, Ramos projected to be about a 2 win catcher and that’s close to what he’ll be worth when this season is done.

    As for skipping Syndergaard and deGrom’s starts, that’s fine. Ramos shouldn’t be catching more than about 60% of the Mets games, anyway. With his age and injury history he’s a 100 game catcher at this point. That’s what he averaged from 2016 through 2018, and it’s a good target.

    Not his fault some of his numbers are down. The Mets have ridiculously overplayed him in 2019. The idea of having a 31 yo catcher with a long injury history on pace to catch 140 games, is absurd, and has a great deal to do with his underperforming, as modest as that underperformance has been.

    If the Mets could arrange a multiway deal and replace Ramos with Grandal while contemporaneously extending Grandal, then sure. But failing to do that in-season, dealing Ramos, then putting all their eggs in the Grandal basket while putting themselves at Grandal’s agent’s mercy during the offseason would be a costly move, a move with an excellent chance of not getting done–particularly when they have an above average catching tandem in Ramos and Nido. Ideal, no. But most teams have ideal solutions at zero to three positions. That’s not to mention that spending 70m on Grandal when they need to spend 15m-20m AAV on a real starting pitcher, looks unwise.

    Catching going into 2020 (assuming they don’t destroy Ramos’ knees before then) is among the least of the Mets worries. There are 14 primary positions within the 25 man roster, and the 2020 Mets are currently set at 1B, RF, C, and two SP slots. If they’re going to upgrade they need to look at CF, 3B, SS, and 3 SP slots before they look to catcher. Ramos just isn’t a problem. He’s an imperfect player who has been badly used that the Mets should not be selling low on, particularly when they have so many other suppurating wounds on the roster.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      I’d actually argue to the contrary. Catcher is a big concern. With Ramos’ inability to frame and inability to get down to block pitches, the staff can’t be as effective low in the zone forcing the ball to come up.

      Bringing in a Grandal will be a huge boost to this pitching staff, which will help this team all the more.

      If I’m the Mets, I’m all-in on Grandal.

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