When the Philadelphia Phillies acquired all-star catcher Wilson Ramos from the Tampa Bay Rays at the July 31 trade deadline it was with the full knowledge that he was slightly damaged goods.
Ramos went on the DL while with Tampa just before he was scheduled to start for the American League in the 2018 MLB All-Star Game. He last played on July 14 with the Rays, going 1-3 with a double and two RBI that day.
A native of Venezuela who just turned 31 years old last week, Ramos is now in his ninth big league campaign. He is due to become a free agent this coming off-season.
Prior to suffering the injury to his left hamstring, Ramos was slashing .297/.346/.488 with 14 home runs, 14 doubles, and 53 RBI.
Alfaro is slashing .249/.309/.382, while Knapp has a .217/.310/.354 line. The two have combined for 11 homers, 21 doubles, and 42 RBI.
Alfaro has a cannon for an arm from the catching position. However, both he and Knapp have proven less-than-adequate at handling balls in the dirt and other slightly wild offerings from the Phillies pitching staff.
Ramos is not considered a strong defensive catcher either. Per the SABR Defensive Index from the first half of this season he was ranked 13th among American League backstops with a -0.8 SDI. By comparison, Alfaro was ranked 9th in the National League with a -0.3 SDI. But Ramos has thrown out more than 30% of attempted base stealers who have chosen to run on him.
Matt Breen, who covers the Phillies for Philly.com and their print resources, the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, tweeted this afternoon that Ramos was in Philadelphia and would be activated for the Phillies game with the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday evening.
That report proved true as the Phillies themselves tweeted the news of his activation later this afternoon. It was further announced by the team that Ramos would bat sixth and start at catcher on Wednesday. Knapp is being sent down to the AAA Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
C Wilson Ramos has been returned from his rehab assignment and reinstated from the 10-day DL.
To make room on the 25-man roster, C Andrew Knapp has been optioned to Lehigh Valley (AAA). pic.twitter.com/hAISwogTfL
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) August 15, 2018
Ramos will definitely provide the Phillies with far more experience and a more consistent offensive history, as Corey Seidman at NBC Sports Philadelphia noted:
“He’s not just a good hitter for a catcher — he’s a good hitter, period. He drives the ball consistently and doesn’t strike out much. Ramos has struck out in 17 percent of his career plate appearances. Jorge Alfaro has struck out a whopping 36 percent of the time.“
Per Marc Topkin at the Tampa Bay Times, Ramos is expected to be looking for a contract somewhere in the three-year, $40 million range in the coming off-season. With other needs to fill, that may be a bit pricey for the Phillies for a catcher in his ages 31-33 seasons.
It remains to be seen whether Ramos will prove to be just a rental. But if he stays healthy, he could prove to be a valuable one for a Phillies team that appears to be slightly ahead of schedule in their attempt to return to contending status.
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