8:46am: The team’s offer was for “a bit more” than the three-year, $30MM figure that Heyman suggests, per Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post (via Twitter).
While Ramos has stated that he would invite a chance to re-up with the team, but evidently the preliminary offer was not enough to get things going. Washington opened the bidding at around three years and $30MM, per Heyman.
That does indeed sound like rather a low amount, though it would be right in line with what the Pirates promised Francisco Cervelli earlier this year to keep him from reaching the open market. Of course, that pact took place before much of the season had occurred, meaning that Cervelli was avoiding the risk of an injury or a performance downturn harming his stock — which, it turns out, is just what happened.
Ramos, by comparison, has already absorbed most of the risk, boosting his own earning power substantially with a huge season. As I recently examined, the 29-year-old has a strong case for a five-year deal at a rather lofty average annual value. Many teams are hunting for a backstop, and Ramos now stands out rather clearly as the top available free agent at that position. Though his offensive production has dipped somewhat of late, the overall output (.303/.352/.491, 21 home runs) remains immense for his position.
It’s not clear whether talks will be revisited at some point before Ramos qualifies for free agency, but Heyman calls that a “long shot.” That’s not terribly surprising, as both sides are surely focused on the task at hand with the postseason beckoning. We have seen late-breaking, pre-free-agency extensions — the Giants’ pact with Hunter Pence stands out — so that possibility can’t be ruled out entirely. On the other hand, the Nats have previously moved on from core players like Jordan Zimmermann and Ian Desmond when new contract discussions were not fruitful.