SAN FRANCISCO — As disappointing as Wilson Ramos has performed for the Mets in his first season, some level of hope had existed in recent weeks among team officials that a trade market might materialize for the veteran catcher.
But the inquiries so far have been scarce, according to industry sources, leaving a sense Ramos likely will remain in the organization as the July 31 trade deadline passes. Of course, with 1 ¹/₂ weeks still remaining before the deadline, the landscape could change based on injuries and other trades that occur.
After failing to acquire J.T. Realmuto in a trade with the Marlins last offseason and watching Yasmani Grandal reject their offer and ultimately land in Milwaukee on a much lesser deal, the Mets settled on Ramos for a two-year deal worth $19 million. At the time, there were concerns about his defense, but the thought was Ramos would still provide an upgrade over incumbents Kevin Plawecki and Travis d’Arnaud, particularly offensively. But Ramos’ defense has deteriorated beyond anything club officials could have envisioned, to the point at which Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard have made clear their preference throwing to backup Tomas Nido.
Offensively, Ramos brought a respectable .745 OPS into play Friday against the Giants, having emerged as a dependable piece of manager Mickey Callaway’s lineup.
But one major league talent evaluator gave the Mets slim odds of dealing Ramos during the season.
“There is not a big market right now for catching and his contract is going to impede that even more,” the evaluator said, noting that Tampa Bay might have been a suitable landing spot for Ramos if the Rays had not signed d’Arnaud after he was released by the Mets.
A second talent evaluator said the fact deGrom and Syndergaard want Nido behind the plate doesn’t send a strong message to clubs who might have interest in Ramos.
“The pitchers don’t like throwing to him,” the evaluator said. “That’s a problem because you have got him for another year. Do you want to send him to an American League team and put him behind the plate and be a DH? That might be your best bet. You are not going to find teams lining up to take that money.”
Zack Wheeler, Jason Vargas and Todd Frazier are the most likely Mets to be dealt before the trade deadline. But Wheeler is on the injured list with an impingement in his right shoulder, calling into question whether he will return before July 31. Even if he does, what might the Mets obtain for a pitcher with a history of arm issues who is freshly removed from the IL? Noah Syndergaard’s two years of club control beyond this season are attractive to potential suitors, beyond his raw ability, but there are also plenty of doubts within the industry the Mets will deal him during the season. Wheeler is an impending free agent, and the Mets hold a club option on Vargas for next season worth $8 million. It will cost the Mets $2 million if they buy out that option.
Another potential trade piece, Michael Conforto, doesn’t seem likely to be dealt, but the Mets are listening.
“I talk to teams and if they are interested in [Conforto] nobody is really sure, is he a middle-of-the order-bat or not?” the first evaluator said. “But the Mets have some assets to move. They will maybe save a little money and get mid-level prospects for some of these guys. If you do good scouting, they may be better prospects than you think.”