As Wilson Ramos signs with Mets, Phillies restate confidence in catcher Jorge Alfaro
The Phillies remain committed to Jorge Alfaro as their primary catcher, so Wilson Ramos fled to the rival New York Mets via free agency.
Wilson Ramos was never very likely to re-sign with the Phillies.
It’s not that the Phils were unimpressed with Ramos after acquiring him in a July 31 trade. But they still envision Jorge Alfaro as their primary catcher and Ramos wants to play every day. It just didn’t seem like a match.
So, while the Phillies continued to seek pitching upgrades and prepared for an in-person meeting with Manny Machado this week, Ramos agreed Sunday night to a two-year, $19 million contract with the rival New York Mets.
The Mets reportedly were pursuing a trade for Miami catcher J.T. Realmuto but balked at the Marlins' high asking price. If the Marlins do move on from Realmuto this winter, the presumption throughout the industry is that they prefer not to trade him within the National League East.
Ramos, 31, batted .337, slugged .483, and had 10 extra-base hits in 89 at-bats over 33 games with the Phillies. Overall, he hit .306 with 15 homers and a .487 slugging percentage. But he also missed time with two sore hamstrings and is two years removed from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
Last week, Phillies general manager Matt Klentak restated his confidence in Alfaro, who batted .262 with 10 homers but struck out 138 times in 344 at-bats as a rookie last season and struggled at times behind the plate.
“I think what Jorge showed last year was incredible growth for a first-year catcher, both on the offensive side and the defensive side,” Klentak said. “He cut his strikeout rate every month of the year. His receiving and framing went from being not great to very good in one year. Obviously he can become more familiar with our pitching staff and how they prepare. We absolutely think Jorge can and will be our front-line [catcher].”
Klentak also praised backup catcher Andrew Knapp. It’s possible, though, that the Phillies will pursue a more veteran backup. They looked into Brian McCann before he signed a one-year deal with the Atlanta Braves last month. There are still several catching options on the free-agent market, including Matt Wieters, Nick Hundley, A.J. Ellis, and Devin Mesoraco.