When the Washington Nationals acquired Wilson Ramos in the Matt Capps deal with the Minnesota Twins, Ramos was immediately deemed as the catcher of the future for the Nationals, a team that had not had a regular catcher since Brian Schneider. Ramos was blocked by Joe Mauer, and seemingly needed to be traded to get regular playing time at the major league level.
Ramos came up and did not disappoint, hitting .267 with 15 home runs and 52 RBIs in his first season with the Nationals. And after missing most of 2012 with a torn ACL, Ramos returned in 2013, and in 35 less games than his first full season, hit 16 home runs and with 59 RBIs. Ramos was also able to show his durability, starting 23-straight games at one point. Needless to say, Ramos is poised for a breakout season in 2014, if he stays healthy.
Which is exactly why Washington should extend him now.
Think about it: Ramos hit 16 home runs in 287 at-bats, which bodes well for his 2014 season. He set a career high for home runs, RBIs and batting average in over 100 less at-bats than his previous career high. A 162-game average for Ramos would be .270/.325/.445 slash line along with 24 home runs and 86 RBIs. Washington could have the most affordable star catcher in the game.
One thing that could be a risk for Washington is the fact that Ramos has had multiple lower body injuries in his young career, which is alarming for a catcher. Ramos is 26, but already has one surgically repaired knee and the Nationals are probably hoping that Ramos’ balky hamstring heals over the course of the winter.
Washington could make a great decision in extending Ramos, but the injury history could chase them away from that decision, combined with their catching depth. If they were to extend Ramos, they would solidify the position for years to come, and save money for the same length of time.