Today, the Washington Nationals reportedly made the decision to not extend a qualifying offer to catcher Wilson Ramos
This afternoon at 5 p.m ET was the deadline for teams to extend the qualifying offer (one year, $17.2 million) to their players who are now free agents. According to Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post, the Washington Nationals made the decision to not give a qualifying offer to catcher Wilson Ramos:
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Nationals do not plan to make a qualifying offer to Wilson Ramos, according to people familiar with the situation.
If Ramos does choose to sign with another team, the Nats will not get a draft pick in return like they did last year when Jordan Zimmermann signed with the Tigers and Ian Desmond signed with the Rangers.
Ramos had an All-Star season in 2016, but his season was cut short when he tore the ACL in his right knee in a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on September 26 at Nats Park. He underwent ACL surgery for the second time in his career last month and is expected to miss the start of the regular season in 2017.
This decision by the Washington Nationals is the right decision. While Ramos has hit 15+ home runs in three of the last four seasons (22 this year) and has been productive behind the plate, the risk is too much for Ramos to accept the $17.2 million offer and only play for a few months in 2017.
Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post did report that back in August, Ramos was offered three years for $30 million by the organization. Ramos turned that deal down in hopes of getting a long-term deal in free agency.
It is expected that the Washington Nationals are going to try to add a catcher during this offseason. Pedro Severino and Jose Lobaton weren’t a terrible duo to have at the end of the season behind the plate. However, the Nats need another hitter to add depth to the lineup and having Severino as the everyday catcher in 2017 isn’t the answer for a team to looking to get to the World Series.
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Ramos may not be able to catch everyday, but he still could be of great value to an American League team, where he can be used some days as a designated hitter. The 29-year-old catcher hit .307 and had a .354 on-base percentage to go with his 22 home runs.
Over his seven years with the Washington Nationals, Ramos hit .268 with 83 home runs and drove in 320 runs. One of the best trades that Mike Rizzo has made as General Manager of the Nats was when he acquired Ramos from Minnesota for reliever Matt Capps in July 2010. It will be interesting to see where Ramos signs this year and how much money he will get coming off of the ACL surgery.