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Ramos likes fit with Rays as free agency nears

MLB.com @ladsonbill24

NEW YORK -- Catcher Wilson Ramos sounds like a guy who wants to stay with the Rays beyond 2018. He is a free agent after the season, and he loves the direction the team is going in.

Ramos said the Rays remind him of the Nationals when he was a rookie in 2011. During that period, the Nationals were getting rid of most of their veteran players and relying heavily on their strong farm system.

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NEW YORK -- Catcher Wilson Ramos sounds like a guy who wants to stay with the Rays beyond 2018. He is a free agent after the season, and he loves the direction the team is going in.

Ramos said the Rays remind him of the Nationals when he was a rookie in 2011. During that period, the Nationals were getting rid of most of their veteran players and relying heavily on their strong farm system.

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"[Some of] the veteran guys have left, but the young players have come up, and they are getting experience," Ramos said about the Rays. "They know how to play this game. So I'm very happy for this team. We are [competitive]. We've made a couple of mistakes. It happens in the game when you are young. I'm 100 percent sure this team will be good soon."

Ramos, 30, is having an above average season, hitting .282 with eight home runs and 33 RBIs entering Friday's game against the Yankees. After watching teammates Denard Span and Alex Colome get traded to the Mariners nearly two months before the non-waiver Trade Deadline, Ramos tries not to think about the possibility of being dealt.

"I'm healthy. I want to do what I can do," Ramos said. "I want to go out there on the field and give my best effort. That's what I'm concentrating on. I'm talking a lot with my wife about [the possibility of being traded]. It's not easy to go back home and just think like, any day, you could get the phone call saying you could get traded. It's not easy to talk about."

If Ramos had his way, he would be a member of the Rays for a while. He still has a warm spot for the team after it signed him to a two-year deal after the 2016 season even though he tore the ACL in his right knee in September of that year.

"I'm very happy with this organization because they gave me the opportunity to have my career, especially after the knee surgery," Ramos said. "A lot of teams were behind me before the knee surgery. After the surgery, everybody turned around and didn't pay attention to me. But [the Rays] helped me to get better, helped me with my rehab. So I'm very excited with all the little things they have done for me. If I stay here, I'll be happy."

Bill Ladson has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002. He covered the Nationals/Expos from 2002-2016. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

Tampa Bay Rays, Wilson Ramos