Despite tendering Travis d’Arnaud a contract, the Mets still have interest in upgrading at catcher, with free agents Wilson Ramos and Martin Maldonado among the players they have an eye on, reports SNY’s Andy Martino.
The Mets are expected to remain “aggressive” after their blockbuster with the Mariners is finalized, and had been in talks with the Indians to trade for Yan Gomes before he was dealt to the Nationals.
Ramos, 31, is viewed as one of the two best catchers on the free agent market, with Yasmani Grandal (who is attached to draft pick compensation since the Dodgers extended a qualifying offer) being the other.
Ramos hit .306/.358/.487 with 15 homers in 111 games in 2018 split between the Rays and Phillies. His career line is .273/.317/.439, and three of his four best seasons in terms of slugging percentage have come the last three years.
He was a bit below average this past season when it came to DRS behind the plate (-5), but had the best caught stealing percentage in the majors (44 percent).
As far as what Ramos will get on the open market, FanCred’s Jon Heyman predicts he’ll get $9 million for one year, with an expert Heyman spoke with predicting $10 million for one year.
There are also catching options on the trade market, including J.T. Realmuto and Francisco Cervelli.
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If the Mets add another big bat to go along with Cano, they can justify signing Maldonado — a tremendous defender who isn’t much of a hitter — to be their catcher. If they don’t, Ramos makes the most sense.
While Ramos would come with some serious injury issues in his recent past, he’s the better play here than Grandal for two reasons.
1. Ramos isn’t attached to draft pick compensation. While the Mets would only need to surrender a pick after the first round, it’s still one they’re better off having — especially if they lose Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn to the Mariners.
2. Most experts believe Ramos will cost less in terms of years and dollars.
The Mets could also go the trade route, which they were prepared to do for Gomes. But Realmuto is a pipe dream since the Marlins want a ton for him and are reportedly hesitant to trade in their division.
And while a player like Cervelli shouldn’t cost much in terms of prospects, there’s no reason for the Mets to further deplete their farm system if they don’t have to.