Before he suffered a season-ending injury to his right knee, the second serious injury to that knee, Wilson Ramos was headed for a big pay day in free agency. He was also likely to receive a 1-year/$17.2M qualifying offer from the Washington Nationals.
All that changed when the 29-year-old catcher injured the ACL in his right knee on a play at the plate on September 26th, bringing an abrupt end to his seventh season in the majors.
This afternoon, according to multiple reports, the Nationals declined to make a qualifying offer to Ramos:
Nats do not extend qualifying offer to Wilson ramos— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 7, 2016
Nationals do not plan to make a qualifying offer to Wilson Ramos, according to people familiar with the situation.— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) November 7, 2016
Ramos finished the year with a .307/.354/.496 line, 25 doubles and 22 home runs in 131 games and 525 plate appearances, over which he was worth a career-high 3.5 fWAR.
He underwent the second significant surgery to repair the ACL “along with repairs to the medial meniscus and lateral meniscus” in mid-October.
Ramos was just 28 games into the 2012 campaign when he injured the same knee chasing down a passed ball on the road in Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park.
He reportedly turned down a 3-year/$30M offer earlier this season, and according to a report by Washington Post writer Jorge Castillo, 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 had decided to make that offer.
GM Mike Rizzo told reporters two weeks back that the Nationals would do their due diligence on his medical records before deciding how to proceed with Ramos. It is, of course, still possible that they re-sign the catcher.
Will the Nationals try to re-sign Ramos? Will the add a free agent catcher or trade for a backstop, or will they stick with Pedro Severino and Jose Lobaton as their backstops in 2017?