Mike Friere - Would You Trade For Wilson Ramos?


I have to give credit to Reese for the basic framework of this article, since the Rays announced that they have lost their “All World Defensive Centerfielder” to a thumb injury for an extended period (potentially 12 to 13 weeks, or the middle of July).  To be clear, Kevin Kiermaier is a hell of a defensive outfielder, but is not known for his offense.  That sounds extremely familiar to a similar player that we all know, doesn’t it?   

More on that in a second.

For starters, the Rays are NOT a good baseball team, so they may not feel any urgency to address the void in question.  In the short term, they have several players who could patrol centerfield until such time that KK returns to the lineup.  Players such as Mallex Smith, Carlos Gonzalez or even Denard Span could hold down the fort and it would not cost the team anything.  Plus, the Rays are even more salary averse then the Wilpons, so that’s an additional issue when it come to any personnel moves.

However, none of the replacements are even CLOSE to what KK provides on defense.  As a matter of fact, he has delivered roughly 3 WAR per year on just his defense alone!  That is a ton of value and it will be very difficult to replace, even for half of the season as currently projected.  

Let’s bring the heavily hinted at player from a paragraph or two before into the conversation. The Mets’ Juan Lagares is nearly on KK’s level when it comes to defensive prowess.  Several seasons ago, when he was reasonably healthy and in the lineup on a consistent basis, he returned over 3 WAR per year for an extended period, putting him in the general conversation defensively. That doesn’t even include the fact that the Mets have a crowded outfield and really need to give Brandon Nimmo more playing time.   

Let’s say the Rays are interested in JL and want to talk trade despite the fact that JL is injury prone himself and he is owed 6.5 million dollars for the current season and 9 million dollars on the last year of his contract in 2019 (roughly 15 million dollars left on his current deal).  The trade would have to include a player that is fairly expensive (salary relief) and at a position that the Mets would find appealing.

The Mets just lost both starting catchers and are currently using a AA prospect (Thomas Nido) and a AAAA type player in Jose Lobaton.  No offense to either player, but at this point in their respective careers, you should be attempting to upgrade the position if you are Sandy Anderson, especially since the Mets are looking like a contending ball club.  

The Rays are currently playing Wilson Ramos behind the plate and he is signed through the end of the 2018 season for 8.5 million dollars.  He is a steady, veteran presence who has played in the NL East before (Nationals) and he is also a free agent after this year.  WR would slot in nicely for the rest of the 2018 season, along with Kevin Plawecki once he comes back from the DL.  After the season is over WR would likely move on, allowing Travis d’Arnaud to return to the platoon that we had in place before the injuries hit.  

The deal would likely start out as JL for WR, but there is a 7 million dollar discrepancy that the Rays are not going to take on in exchange for a player that will likely move to the bench for the rest of 2018 once KK is healthy.  Yes, they would have control over him for the 2019 season, but there are no guarantees that he will play every day (as the Mets are finding out).  It would be fun to watch KK and JL play in the same outfield, though.

In addition to JL, the Mets would need to agree to take on some extra salary or include an additional prospect to sweeten the deal (or maybe both).  It is for this reason that I am not sure the Mets (extra cost in salary or prospects) or the Rays (temporary solution, long term roster issue) would want to make this swap.

Would you trade JL for WR and throw in an extra 7 million?   Or, instead of the cash, would you make the one for one deal and throw in someone like Justin Dunn or Gavin Cecchini?

It is an interesting question, made more complex by the Mets’ fast start and Brandon Nimmo’s potential “break out”.  


Reese Kaplan said...

The issue is the big salary Lagares is set to earn next year. So who on the Rays roster would offset that number (that the Rays would also be willing to move)? A quick perusal of their payroll shows their other highest paid player is Denard Span, hitting poorly and earning over $10 million. After that it's poor hitting Adeiny Hecchevaria. They have a HUGE hole in the starting rotation with only 3 healthy bodies, so perhaps some depth from the Mets minors might get it done and allow them to swallow the high salary of Lagares. In 2019 one of their outfielders -- Carlos Gomez -- leaves as a free agent, and they're probably unlikely to exercise the 2019 option on Span. So having a quality outfielder may be considered a decent investment if they can address other needs -- namely starting pitching.

Mack Ade said...

1. I can't see the Rays taking on salary. They scream out for team controlled players.

2. Ramos is NOT Realmuto.

3. Sandy ought to be able to convince the Rays that the Mets are close to a Realmuto deal which they would pass on if they could complete a Ramos deal first. Might work.

4. I am not dealing off Dunn.

5. Do not even bring up Gimenez.

6. They can have Mazeika and a secondary young arm like Crismatt

Thomas Brennan said...

He has thrown out 6 of 43 in 2017 and 2018.

Thomas Brennan said...

If we can get Realmuto, it would be a huge plus, and especially if we lose tonight, having that solidification of the catching position would put us on an even keel with the Nats, IMO.

I say that knowing Vargas is coming back and assuming Swarzak will be back and effective within 2-3 weeks. We have a lot of talent, but if our catchers hit .150 over the next 5 weeks, we'll slide back.

Jose Reyes 0-17 now; Wheeler/Harvey a combined 4 for 8...Bizarro World

Mack Ade said...

Tom -

I did not know about Ramos' lack of arm... then, I would pass on him. We do not need another catcher everyone can run on.

I am not going to panic even if we lose tomorrow. The Nats are a great team and we were never a 10-1 team.

IMO, we have to work out something for Realmuto.

Anonymous said...

Tampa Bay trades Ramos as a salary dump. No way do they take on more salary for Lagares. That's not how baseball works. Lagares is a wildly overpaid defensive replacement, that's it. The short side of a decent CF platoon -- with team on the hook for $9.5 million next season. Any team would be insane to take on that contract, because they'd be doing the Mets a favor.

If Mets willing to take on all of Ramos' salary, they won't have to give up much in terms of prospects for the deal. A B-level guy or two for appearances.

Realmuto is the much, much better option. You suddenly control the C position for three more years in a very positive light. That means: Worth ponying up some prospects. Dunn, yes. Fermin, yes. Gimenez, no. Peterson, no. Dominic Smith, sure. Flexen, sure. Nido, sure. Mets have the chips.

Traded three guys to get Delgado. Traded four to get Carter.

Realmuto is real deal ML catcher on both sides of the plate. This is the guy who makes a difference.

However, if Marlins are fiercely unrealistic, then move on to Ramos.

Plawecki is horrible, and at this point it's unrealistic to think that Travis comes back next season. Could happen, but not with the Mets. Love that kid, feel bad for him, but he can't be counted on coming back from TJ surgery. Arm was borderline at best to begin with.

Sandy make it happen.

Doing nothing, waiting for KP, not good enough.

Thomas Brennan said...

Anonymous, I agree on getting Realmuto - we do have prospects they'd want, as you note. But they have emerging power star Justin Bour as a 1B (never played OF in the majors or minors), so I cannot see them being interested in Smith, unless they'd then flip him in another trade.

If the Yanks had our prospects and the same catching situation that the Mets now have, they'd get Realmuto - because it would make them much better NOW. Time for the Mets to be equally ruthless.

TexasGusCC said...

Call me a fool, but I like Ramos. Realmuto is a nice player, but Ramos is known for having a strong arm and Can hit a little bit. But defensively, for four straight years before his injury, he had a high dWAR every year and Fangraphs shows the release and arm strength to back it up. How good will he hit, I cannot say. But, if he’s healthy, he’s worth a couple of A Ball relievers in a lottery ticket trade that has way more upside than sending the farm to Miami for their cover boy.

Mack's Mets © 2012