Wilson Ramos is in the midst of a career year and is on the cusp of free agency, and it looks as though unlike teammate Stephen Strasburg, Ramos will hit free agency without agreeing to a contract extension. The 28-year-old tells Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post that the Nationals have yet to approach his camp about brokering a long-term pact.
“They have told me absolutely nothing still,” said Ramos. “I’d like [to have my future here], but those are decisions they make … They haven’t made any calls or communicated with us. We’re still waiting.”
Manager Dusty Baker said to Castillo that he hopes the front office does “something big” to keep Ramos in D.C. for the long haul, though with fewer than three months until he’ll have the opportunity to test the waters of the open market, the odds of that happening seem rather slight. Ramos is hitting .331/.381/.536 with 16 home runs on the season and, as Castillo notes, has dramatically cut his strikeout rate (perhaps due to the benefits of offseason LASIK surgery). Ramos has excelled at thwarting stolen-base attempts in the past four seasons, and the 2016 campaign has been no exception, as he’s picked off 36 percent of those who have run against him. And while his pitch-framing ratings have deteriorated over the course of his big league career (per Baseball Propsectus), he was still average in that regard in 2015 and is above-average in 2016.
The breakout for Ramos isn’t necessarily a total shock, as he was long billed as one of the game’s Top 100 prospects as he ascended through the Twins’ minor league ranks. Durability has been an issue for him, as he’s missed time in the past due to a torn ACL in his right knee, several hamstring strains and a fractured hand, leaving him with an average of just 86 games per season from 2011-15 with the Nats. Ramos’ ability to remain healthy will be one of the biggest red flags surrounding his market in free agency this season, but he has age, former prospect pedigree and a brilliant platform season all on his side. He should enter the winter as the top catching option on the market, as reflected on MLBTR’s Free Agent Power Rankings, wherein Ramos lands at No. 8 overall in terms of earning power. MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes suggested that it’s time to consider the possibility of a five-year deal for Ramos, and I fully agree with that notion.