Wilson Ramos talked to reporters in Nationals Park after he suffered a season-ending injury to the ACL in his right knee on September 26th.
He underwent surgery to repair the ACL, “along with repairs to the medial meniscus and lateral meniscus,” as Washington Post reporter Jorge Castillo late in the regular season.
Ramos, 29, who reportedly turned down a 3-year/$30M offer from Washington with the hope that he’d find a better offer in free agency this winter, finished his seventh major league campaign at a career-best 3.5 fWAR, with a .307/.354/.496 line, and career highs in doubles (25) and home runs (22) in 131 games and 532 plate appearances, making the injury particularly devastating.
Ramos said he would love to remain in D.C., though he acknowledged that his future might be in the American League.
“I would love to stay here and keep playing for this team,” he said through an interpreter.
“They’ve given me the opportunity in my career that I haven’t gotten anywhere else. Unfortunately this injury happened so close to the end and it may affect whether I’m able to stay [with a] National League team or not, but if it’s up to me, I definitely would like to keep playing for the Nationals and play as long as I can.”
In an interview with 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s The Sports Junkies this past Wednesday, Nats’ GM Mike Rizzo talked about the possibility of bringing Ramos and free agent closer Mark Melancon back.
“We have interest in both of those players. There’s a deal out there for each and every one of these guys,” Rizzo said when he was asked to offer a percentage estimate of the chances of either returning to Washington.
“They differ by the circumstances and the situations, but we’d love to have Willy back, we’d love to have Mark back. They were key components to what we did last year and we’re going to make a run at both of them. There’s a deal to be had out there, it’s just that two parties have to meet on it, and we’re certainly going to discuss it with both guys and we’d like to have both guys back.”
“Percentage, I don’t know, it depends on their expectations, what they’re looking for.”
So what is Ramos looking for? Would he accept a qualifying offer (1-year/$17.2M) if the Nationals made one?
Would the Nationals risk having Ramos accept the qualifying offer if the six-to-eight month timetable for his return to action is accurate and take the chance that he can come back from a second major injury to his right knee?
“Wilson Ramos was going to aim for $100 million before the unfortunate knee injury,” Jon Heyman wrote at Today’s Knuckleball this weekend.
“According to the Washington Post he will still seek a four- or five-year deal after the injury. He’s a terrific hitting catcher so it will be interesting to see how he does. Nats people didn’t like the conditions on the field that day and believe that may have contributed to his mishap.”
The WaPost’s Castillo is the one who wrote this week that Ramos’ agent, “[Wil] Polidor said Ramos is seeking a four-to-five-year contract, which he could secure only if he were to reject the qualifying offer,” if the Nationals made the offer, though having a draft pick tied to him if he did reject it could affect his ability to find a long-term deal.
In a teleconference with reporters earlier this week, Rizzo, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, said Ramos came through surgery well, so they would look at his medical information before making a decision on how to proceed.
“We’re going to see what the short-term rehab is,” Rizzo said.
“We’ll do all the due diligence on the medicals, which is the most important factor in what our plans are for Wilson. Once we get together with all the medical people that are involved, we’ll have a better idea of where we’re at with Wilson. Then we’ll employ a strategy that best fits our needs and the need to improve the ballclub in any way we can.”
If the Nationals don’t bring Ramos back, do they have to trade for a catcher or sign a free agent backstop?
Do they trust that Pedro Severino can step in and take over on an everyday basis with Jose Lobaton sharing duties behind the plate in the nation’s capital?