The Minnesota Twins were seeking bullpen help as the trade deadline neared in 2010, so they sent young catching prospect Wilson Ramos and a minor leaguer to the Washington Nationals for Matt Capps. Even with skepticism surrounding the trade, Capps proved capable with 16 saves and a 2.00 ERA down the stretch for the Twins while Ramos played 15 games for Washington over the rest of that season.
But 2011 was a much different story, as Capps struggled (4.25 ERA), catcher Joe Mauer was publicly diagnosed with “bilateral leg weakness” and Ramos showed some promise by hitting 15 home runs and driving in 52 runs for the Nationals. Mauer has now moved to first base full-time this season, so having Ramos in his age-27 campaign would be nice. Or would it?
Ramos’ troubles started in November of 2011, when he was kidnapped in his native Venezuela and remained captive for two days. He then suffered a torn right ACL in May of 2012, missed significant time last season with a hamstring issue and he’s now expected to miss at least a month after having surgery on the hamate bone in his left hand on Wednesday.
Leaving aside one game this season and the 15 games he played for the Nationals in 2010, Ramos has posted a slash-line of .269/.327/.449 (.776 OPS) with 34 home runs and 121 RBI over 216 games (834 plate appearances) from 2011-2013. That’s essentially a season and-a-half of playing time over three seasons, which is surely far less than what Washington expected to get from the young catcher by this point in time back when they acquired him.
Injuries have obviously played a significant role in Ramos not quite reaching his potential to this point, and his 2014 season is not off to a great start in that regard. The Twins are obviously not expected to be a playoff contender this year, and with Mauer’s position switch they’d now be able to give Ramos a ton of playing time. But I think they should be more than happy with Josmil Pinto as their newly-anointed catcher of the future, and the sting of dealing Ramos for basically a half-season of competent pitching from Capps is now greatly diminished.