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).
7:57am: The Nationals initiated extension talks with catcher Wilson Ramos, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag. Initial chatter, however, has not led to more extensive discussions.
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.
At 29 years old, as the premier catcher on the market, I can see a 5-yr/$60m deal in the cards as he brings solid power and a solid glove to the table. His low career on base numbers will prevent him from topping McCann in my opinion, as he posted a sub 700 OPS in 2014 AND 2015 whereas McCann’s had just one poor season prior to entering free agency in which he posted a .698 OPS. Overall, the career OPS difference is 50 points.
Floor for Flores – 4-yr/$48m (AAV $12m)- this would apply if teams are wary of giving up a draft pick for a catcher who, with poor on base numbers, carries aging risk.
Ceiling for Flores- 5-year/$70m (AAV $15m)- If some team feels desperate enough at the catcher’s position to throw a draft pick and this kind of money his way: I can see Atlanta or the White Sox doing this
I’m not sure who Flores is (all but certain you mean Ramos), but I don’t see the Braves going 5/$70 million at all. I won’t deny that they should be looking to upgrade at catcher but the simple fact is that catcher is not only weak this year in free agency but overall in major league baseball (with very few exceptions) and that is going to drive up the price to one that the Braves are not willing to pay. The Braves have been burned by their most recent big free agent signings and it just doesn’t seem to their character that they’d pay a huge price and give up a draft pick to sign Ramos (although in this case because their first pick is protected it would be their 2nd overall pick that would be forfeited).
I look for the Braves possibly settle for Weiters or Castro (and yes both are huge fall offs from Ramos) or attempt to see if they can get McCann from the Yankees for an acceptable price (with the Yanks eating some of the contract).
Dookie Howser, MD
Agree with you on the Braves not being in on a long term deal for a catcher. They let a fan favorite, homegrown, hometown boy walk, they’re not going to go spend that money on a catcher now while they are in the middle of a rebuild.
Big, long term money for a catcher is a terrible idea, especially if you can’t move them to first/DH a few years down the road (both not options for the Braves).
I hope Atlanta stays away from a long term deal with Ramos or Wieters, just like they did with McCann. Whoever signs those guys to long term deals will regret it.
imo 4/48 will be Ramos max deal. no offense but Ramos isnt Lucroy. Lucroy only catcher even within a year of FA who will command a 5 year 60 plus deal.
They should over pay for him. The next best catcher is wieters, and that’s a huge drop off from Ramos. Their window is now, and they should take a risk like this
Maximum 3 year deal I hope. He has been injury prone a lot to get anything more. Out of six years with Nationals, he has started 100 games only 3 times. If he leaves, he leaves a big hole in the lineup and behind the plate but he was out 2 times when they made it to playoffs anyway. I wouldn’t throw whole lot of money his way.
I’d be sort of insulated if I was Ramos. Nats can do better then that. Seems like an obvious “lets see if he takes it somehow” thing but thats pretty low to have an hope.
Did the Nats TV deal ever get resolved? I think I heard that’s why they where deferring so much money in contracts the last few years. They have Max and Strasburg locked up and a big paycheck potentially going to Harper in a couple years.
As someone else pointed out, I would be very concerned about Ramos’ lack of durability. While on the one hand, the Braves’ cl;ear position of need right now is catcher, I question the wisdom of committing 5 years and a bunch of dollars to any 29-year-old catcher, let alone one who has averaged just 93 games and 340 AB a season in his 6 major-league seasons.
Guaranteed contracts r terrible! All pro players should have the same base salary, then have additional pay based on current offensive and defensive production. So much per homer, rushing yardage, 3 point field goals, goals in hockey, etc. It makes so much sense, that I know it’ll never happen, but that’s my opinion. So frustrating to c guys sign MULTI-MILLION $ DEALS, that hardly ever work out for the teams. And the salaries are subsidized by the taxpayers, b/c they help fund the building of stadiums and arenas that the owners should build THEMSELVES!!!
I wonder whether they will prove to be worth this money that was invested in them. Whoever signs those folks to long haul arrangements will think twice about it..
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