6:43pm: The Angels have also shown interest in Yasmani Grandal, the top-ranked catcher in free agency, Maria Torres of the Los Angeles Times reports. Grandal, 30, spent the previous four seasons in LA as a member of the Dodgers. Because Grandal rejected the Dodgers’ qualifying offer after the season, signing him would cost the Angels their second-highest draft pick and $500K in international bonus pool space in 2019.
6:38pm: The Angels don’t have an established catcher on their roster, but that could change soon. Free agent Wilson Ramos has emerged as their main target on the open market, veteran reporter Jerry Crasnick tweets.
Ramos, whom MLBTR predicts will reel in a three-year, $36MM contract this winter, is coming off his best season since 2016, which ended prematurely when he suffered a torn ACL in his right knee. Although Ramos has now torn the ACL twice in that knee during his time in the majors, he has still enjoyed a respectable career.
Last season, which he divided between the Rays and Phillies, the 31-year-old Ramos slashed a terrific .306/.358/.487 (131 wRC+) with 15 home runs in 416 plate appearances. Defensively, Ramos threw out 29 percent of would-be base stealers, just beating out the 28 percent league average, and earned mediocre overall marks from Baseball Prospectus. Ramos has been a plus defender for most of his career, however, in BP’s estimation. Thanks to his all-around track record, Ramos – also a former Twin and National – has drawn reported interest from several other teams this offseason, including the Dodgers, Mets, Brewers, Athletics and his old club in Minnesota.
Ramos would easily be the most proven backstop in Anaheim, which has just two catchers, Kevan Smith and Jose Briceno, on its 40-man roster. The 30-year-old Smith did perform decently with the White Sox last season, but he only has 497 major league PAs to his name. Briceno, 26, was adequate during his debut with the Angels in 2018, though he has totaled a mere 128 major league PAs and hasn’t been much of an offensive threat in the minors. Of course, given that Ramos has combined for just 185 games since 2017 (including 96 behind the plate last year), it’s likely the Angels’ backup catcher – be it Smith or Briceno – would still garner a fair amount of playing time with him on the roster.