For the Tampa Bay Rays, the timing of the injury to Wilson Ramos could not have been worse. He was going to be a popular guy this month. It is time to move on.
When catcher Wilson Ramos went down with a hamstring injury, the Tampa Bay Rays lost their biggest trade chip. He was headed somewhere. Perhaps back to his previous team, the Washington Nationals. And surely, the Rays would have received some pieces that most likely would have helped over the next few years.
With that said, and the events of the past week, it is time for the Rays to go the other direction.
After being voted into this year’s All Star Game as the American League catcher, he’s proved himself as one of the best out there, albeit a catcher who gets injured some. Back in June, Ramos told MLB.com that he liked it with the Rays and would be content staying.
"“They know how to play this game. So I’m very happy for this team. We are [competitive]. We’ve made a couple of mistakes. It happens in the game when you are young. I’m 100 percent sure this team will be good soon.”"
Let’s face it, the Rays do not have many internal candidates beating down the door to take over behind the plate. Nick Ciuffo may be a candidate, but how soon? Brett Sullivan is having a decent season at Double-A Montgomery hitting .254 while driving in 42 runs. But, he’s a couple of years away.
The Catching Free Agent Market
Wilson Ramos will be the gem among the catchers available in the off-season. That does not work in the Rays’ favor for negotiations. Beyond the Buffalo, there are a bunch of thirtysomething catchers headed by Yasmani Grandal, Matt Wieters and Jonathan LuCroy. Nothing on the list to be excited about.
Extending Wilson Ramos should at least be considered, if he would do a two-year contract. With the pitching staff getting younger and younger, having the stability of Ramos and Jesus Sucre behind the plate would be a big asset. If the Rays were ever going to spend anything in free agency, this would deserve strong consideration.
Sidenote: How will the Rays fill his roster spot for the rest of the month?
Obviously, Jesus Sucre is in line for some added work for the rest of the month. But, there’s not much in the rear-view mirror. The aforementioned Ciuffo is the closest prospect in line. But, he’s only played 23 games at the Triple-A level after missing the first half of this season due to suspension. Veteran Adam Moore is the other alternative in Durham, but his .215 batting average isn’t exciting. Outside the organization, keep an eye on ex-Ray Chris Gimenez. He seems to get whispered in the organization when there’s possibilities at catcher.