The Astros have had discussions with the Rays regarding the possibility of acquiring catcher Wilson Ramos, according to a report from MLB.com’s Jon Morosi (via Twitter). No further details surrounding the connection are available at this time.
Ramos, who’s closing in on his 31st birthday, is earning $10.5MM this year and will return to the open market at season’s end. He’s clearly the best rental catcher that is likely to be made available, though there are certainly some good backstops with lengthier contract rights that might also be targeted by contenders.
Through 303 plate appearances this season in Tampa Bay, Ramos carries an excellent .291/.340/.479 slash line with 14 home runs. He certainly has his deficiencies on the basepaths. And he surely isn’t among the best-regarded defensive catchers, though he has at times graded quite well as a framer and has been within range of average in most measurable catching skills in recent seasons. (Ramos’s blocking and framing drew lesser marks last year, though perhaps it’s fair to give him a bit of a pass since he was returning from ACL surgery.)
Evidently, that overall package holds some appeal to the ’Stros, who are looking for ways to improve an already excellent roster. With Brian McCann currently on the DL, the club is utilizing Max Stassi and Tim Federowicz behind the dish, though the expectation surely will be that McCann and Stassi will split the duties once the former is back to health.
There are some who don’t believe the Astros ought to be considering change at the catching position, at least down the stretch this year. There’s no reason publicly known to think that McCann won’t be able to return after a relatively minor knee surgery, though perhaps there is some concern there. Stassi is in the midst of a breakout effort at the plate in his first extensive action at the major-league level. Of course, he’s also striking out at a 30.5% clip and has not often sustained this kind of output (.253/.339/.468) in the minors. Still, it seems that the Houston organization is at least looking into trying to improve.