With the apparent exorbitant cost of acquiring J.T. Realmuto, free agent Wilson Ramos may be the realistic answer to the Astros‘ search for a catcher.
The Marlins justifiably have a lot of suitors for catcher Realmuto, essentially allowing Miami to reap the benefits from the highest bidder. Is Houston willing to mortgage the future for their next catcher? The deep and talented farm system is one of the main reasons the Astros are successful today. Philadelphia’s Wilson Ramos may be the more prudent choice.
Free agent Ramos finished fourth on the ballot for the Rookie of the Year Award in 2011. The 31-year-old had his breakout season in 2016, slashing 307/.354/.496 and won the NL Silver Slugger Award for catchers. He knocked in 80 runs and hit 22 HRs, tying for first in the National League in RBIs and second in the later. Ramos was selected as a member of the 2016 NL All-Star Team.
After tearing his ACL at the end of last season, Ramos understandably had a mediocre 2017 season recovering. But he bounced right back in 2018 with strong offensive numbers and once again returned to the All-Star Game. His 2018 slash line .306/.358/.487 was almost identical to that of 2016, adding 15 HRs and 70 RBIs.
If Ramos can stay healthy, he has proven that he can be an asset to the Astros’ lineup. But he also is no slouch behind the plate. According to baseball-references.com, since 2015, he has consistently ranked among the top ten catchers in many of the defensive statistic categories, in some cases the top five.
The Astros may have to break the bank in terms of top prospects, future draft picks or contract size to attain what some may consider the top catchers on the market, J. T. Realmuto or Yasmani Grandal. But when you compare what Ramos is capable of and what it would cost to lure him to Houston, Ramos might just be the more economical and practical choice, with little or no drop-off in performance.