While the Dodgers did not make a mighty splash at the 2018 Winter Meetings, they did walk away with a significant upgrade to their bullpen with the acquisition of righty Joe Kelly. And, as there are still a few wants and needs before the 2019 roster puzzle is complete, there’s still plenty of time for deals to be made. Pitchers and catchers will report to Camelback Ranch in mid-February, which still gives the club more than eight weeks to perform some fine tuning ahead of spring camp.
Andrew Friedman has already stated that he expects Will Smith to contribute to the club at some point in 2019, but ideally, the team would like to acquire a veteran catcher to pair with Austin Barnes until Smith, or perhaps even Keibert Ruiz, show that they’re ready for big league action. A ton of rumors were circling towards Miami catcher J.T. Realmuto before the Winter Meetings began, but after the Marlins reportedly demanded Cody Bellinger as the centerpiece of a prospective deal with the Dodgers, discussions have slowed down.
One catcher the Dodgers apparently spoke to at the meetings this week is 31-year-old Wilson Ramos. According to Jorge Castillo of The Los Angeles Times, Friedman reportedly was throwing around a one-year offer; however, being one of the Top 2 catchers on the free agent market, Ramos is obviously commanding a multi-year deal. Tim Dierkes of MLBTR has Ramos pegged at receiving a deal in the 3-year/$36 million range.
Regardless, Ramos has been an offensive machine over his nine-year big league career and would even be an upgrade over Yasmani Grandal in terms of OBP and OPS, among several other notable stats. Last year, the Venezuelan native slashed .306/.358/.407 between the Ray and the Phillies while pounding a combined 15 long balls, 22 doubles and 70 RBI over 111 games and 416 PA. His benchmark season came in 2016 when he hit .307/.354/.496 with 22 home runs, 25 doubles and 80 RBI.
Ramos was named an All-Star last year as well as in 2016. He also captured a Silver Slugger Award during his memorable 2016 campaign in Washington.
As far as defense goes, Ramos has above average framing skills, and he’s decent with the glove in terms of blocking balls in the dirt. His arm is respectable as well, at least in comparison to Grandal. Ramos’ career caught stealing percentage is 32%, while Grandal has a 26% lifetime mark. In 2018, Ramos threw out a whopping 44% of would-be base stealers.
In an ideal world, the Dodgers would want a left-handed hitting catcher (Matt Wieters is still out there) but in all other categories, Ramos may be the best fit, especially if the demands from the Marlins stay where they are now.
With plenty of time remaining before camp commences, Friedman will certainly take his time in making his final decisions in regards to catcher, but based on what’s available for the taking, he may conceivably cave on giving Ramos the deal he’s looking for.