Despite a rocky start in 2019, Mets C Wilson Ramos hit .350 with 15 extra-base hits during the team's final 45 games and legit push for the final Wild Card spot.
That said, GM Brodie Van Wagenen last winter clearly preferred Yasmani Grandal, who just signed a four-year deal with the White Sox. Instead, he ended up with Ramos, who will be paid $10 million this season, after which he can be a free agent.
There was reported friction between Ramos and Noah Syndergaard. Ramos also struggled to begin the season, he'll turn 33 years old next season and -- between repeated injuries -- his production has been very inconsistent the past five seasons.
It stands to reason Van Wagenen could look to bring in another catcher and work to trade Ramos, who has value in that department given his experience and remaining contract.
The only way it makes sense to do this is to sign or trade for a less costly catcher, trade Ramos for a player that helps the big-league roster, then use the minimal money saved on signing an extra reliever or bench player.
In the event Ramos is moved, and Van Wagenen works to bring in a replacement, he should be looking at the following three options:
The Mets have reportedly been in contact with Chirinos, who MLB insiders believe will get just a one-year deal worth between $5-8 million.
He's 35 years old and, though he's kind-of, sort-of been a starting catcher the past few years in Houston, he's clearly ready to move to being a back-up.
That said, if signed and if Van Wagenen found a new home for Ramos -- or Ramos is injured -- he could turn to Chirinos, who has experience working with elite pitchers as well as the postseason. He has hit at least 17 home runs each of the past three years, and he's a very good receiver of the ball, though his framing and arm leave a lot to be desired.
Frankly, this sounds a lot like Ramos. However, as stated above, Chirinos will cost less dollars and may allow Van Wagenen to move money around and help an additional position at Ramos's expense.
I can't believe I'm putting him on this list, but here he is...
The Mets released d'Arnaud early last season after waiting seemingly forever for him to stay healthy, and blossom into the elite catcher they hoped he would be. Naturally, he left the Mets, joined the Rays, remained healthy for an entire season and hit .261 with 13 homers in 271 at-bats after Mike Zunino fell apart.
As a result, MLB insiders expect he'll end up with a two-year deal paying him around $5 million per season, which is half of what Van Wagenen will be paying to Ramos.
FanGraphs' Steamer projections predict d'Arnaud producing just shy of 2.0 WAR, which is right in line with what the Mets got from Ramos in 2019. But, again, whereas Ramos will earn $10 million, d'Aranud will cost the same amount, but for two years instead of one.
The other thing is that d'Arnaud knows New York and is trusted by pretty much every pitcher on the team's roster. And, it's not unrealistic to think after a year away to find his legs and gain perspective that a return to Queens would go much better than how it ended...
Bringing back d'Arnaud in favor of Ramos would be solely about saving money, which could be used elsewhere, while bringing back a familiar face behind the plate.
Perez missed all of 2019 recovering from Tommy John surgery. His recovery is on schedule and he's expected to be 100 percent for Opening Day next season.
As a result, the Royals are reportedly gauging interest in Perez because of the limited supply and increased demand for catchers. However, anyone I've talked with say Kansas City will most likely end up keeping him due to weak offers, recent injuries and his contract, but also because they're crazy loyal to players from their 2015 team.
That said, if they're willing to pay a portion of the $28 million due to him the next two seasons, with the bulk of that compensation coming in 2020, it's worth looking in to what it will take to trade for him.
The scenario pitched to me by a rival executive was to simply trade Ramos for Perez and $4 million. By doing so, the Royals pay the same money for a similarly productive hitter, but get out from another year of Perez at $14 million.
For the Mets, though he swings and misses a lot, they get a more powerful, slightly younger catcher that is significantly better behind the plate and -- outside of his recent surgery -- has been fairly healthy and consistent during his career.
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is lead writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. He also hosts the MetsBlog Podcast, which you can subscribe to here. His new book, The New York Mets Fans' Bucket List, details 44 things every Mets fan should experience during their lifetime. To check it out, click here!