Mets decline '21 options for Ramos, 2 others

October 28th, 2020

NEW YORK -- The Mets declined the 2021 team options on catchers and , as well as infielder , on Wednesday, all but ensuring that the club will seek catching help on the open market this winter.

Ramos’ team option was worth $10 million, Chirinos' was $6.5 million and Frazier’s was $5.75 million. Combined, the Mets will pay those players $4 million in buyouts.

All three moves were expected following a season in which the Mets struggled to find consistent catching production. Ramos, who came to the Mets on a two-year deal before the 2019 season, hit .239 with a .684 OPS while struggling defensively. His issues ran deep enough that the Mets traded in August for Chirinos, who batted .219 with a .617 OPS the rest of the way.

With those two gone, the Mets figure to be among the most aggressive suitors this winter for top free-agent catcher , as well as for lesser options such as . In-house, the Mets’ most prominent returning catchers are and rookie Ali Sánchez; the organization’s No. 2 prospect, Francisco Alvarez, is still realistically multiple years away from the big leagues.

As for Frazier, the veteran returned to the Mets in an August trade from the Rangers. But Frazier also struggled down the stretch, hitting .224 with a .643 OPS. The Mets have plenty of other infield options, including , a 27-year-old they claimed off waivers from the Reds on Monday.

The Mets have three more roster issues looming in the coming days. They will learn shortly if relievers ($6 million) and Brad Brach ($1.25 million) intend to exercise the 2021 player options on their contracts. Brach seems sure to accept, while Betances’ situation is less clear. The deadline for those decisions is Sunday. The Mets also must extend an $18.9 million qualifying offer to starting pitcher ; they are almost certain to do so, while Stroman is likely to reject it and enter free agency.

Officially, 14 Mets players became free agents on Wednesday, one day after the end of the World Series. The decisions of Betances, Brach and Stroman will provide the final number.