The Nationals and Wilson Ramos suffered a crushing injury earlier this week when Ramos tore his ACL — an unfortunate incident that will obviously prevent him from playing in the postseason and may severely hamper his free-agent stock this winter. The full extent of his injury won’t be known until he goes under the knife, but Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweeted earlier this morning that it’s believed there could be damage to Ramos’ meniscus as well, which certainly wouldn’t make rehab any easier.
Ramos is thinking of the team first, he told reporters, including MASNsports.com’s Byron Kerr (via an interpreter), explaining how difficult it will be if his injury and rehab needs force him to watch the postseason from home rather than alongside his teammates. Manager Dusty Baker said he’s hopeful that Ramos can at least be available to stay with the team during the playoffs so that he can provide leadership and instill some wisdom and scouting reports into backstops Pedro Severino and Jose Lobaton in October.
From a personal standpoint, Ramos said he hopes to remain with the Nationals but conceded that he’s not sure he’ll be able to play with a National League club next season — seemingly implying that his knee injury may require some days as a designated hitter, at least in his first year back: “Unfortunately, this injury happened so close to the end and it may affect whether I’m able to stay with a National League team or not, but if it’s up to me, I definitely would like to keep playing for the Nationals and play as long as I can.”
Ramos was previously a lock to receive and reject a qualifying offer in search of what we at MLBTR were projecting to be a five-year contract, though his untimely injury certainly reduces the likelihood of that scenario and probably eliminates it altogether. It’s difficult to know exactly where to peg Ramos’ free agent stock until we have a timeline for his recovery, and that won’t be known until after his surgery takes place. As MLBTR’s Jason Martinez observed, Yasmani Grandal underwent surgery in July 2013 to repair both his ACL and MCL but was ready for a full Spring Training and the Opening Day roster in 2014. Ramos’ injury, of course, is not only different but is potentially more difficult to rehab, as he’s older and this is the second time he’s torn his right ACL in his career.
If Ramos is able to make it back for a significant portion of the 2017 campaign and an American League club proves to be the best fit based on his medical evaluation, then there should be no shortage of teams on the lookout for a catcher this winter. The Angels, Astros, White Sox, Twins, Orioles and Rays could all use upgrades behind the dish (though a catcher with knee problems may wish to avoid running on the turf at Tropicana Field, and even at a reduced price, Ramos may prove too costly for Tampa Bay).