Tigers fill need with catcher Ramos

February 1st, 2021

DETROIT -- Hours after new Tigers manager A.J. Hinch mentioned catcher as one of his team’s lingering needs, he has someone to fill it. The Tigers spent Tuesday evening finalizing a one-year with free-agent catcher , which the team announced on Friday afternoon.

Terms for the deal were not disclosed, but sources told MLB.com it is worth $2 million. Infielder Sergio Alcántara, who was out of Minor League options, was designated for assignment to make room on 40-man roster.

The 33-year-old Ramos joins a Tigers club that has Grayson Greiner and prospect Jake Rogers as its only catchers on the 40-man roster. Hinch has welcomed the opportunity for Rogers to compete for a big league spot, but he also made it clear Tuesday they were looking for veteran help.

“Adding a reliable veteran catcher was one of our priorities this offseason, and we know that Wilson will be a great fit for that role,” Tigers general manager Al Avila said in a release. “He’s still producing on the field at a high level after 11 years in the big leagues, and we feel his presence in the clubhouse will be a major positive both for our young catchers and pitching staff.”

Ramos, a veteran of 11 Major League seasons and a two-time All-Star, spent the past two years with the Mets, who filled their catching void earlier this offseason with former Tiger James McCann. Ramos had a solid 2019 season in New York, posting a 2.2 bWAR while batting .288 with 14 homers, 73 RBIs and a 106 OPS+ in 141 games, including 113 starts behind the plate. No Tigers catcher has posted a 2.2 bWAR in a season since Alex Avila in '12.

Ramos also has played for Minnesota, Washington, Tampa Bay and Philadelphia. He recorded his first Major League RBI against the Tigers in his second big league game as a member of the Twins on May 3, 2010, hitting a two-run double off Brad Thomas at Target Field.

Ramos had a bad start to last season but ended up with a .239 average, five home runs, 15 RBIs and an 88 OPS+. He has spent the offseason working out in Miami at the same facility as new Tigers teammate, longtime friend and fellow Venezuelan Miguel Cabrera.

“I’m excited to join this team during such an exciting time,” Ramos said in a statement. “Whether it’s playing in a lineup with Miguel Cabrera or working with a really talented group of young pitchers, this was an opportunity that I was excited to take on. I’m looking forward to getting to work with my coaches and teammates soon, and winning baseball games for the fans in Detroit.”

Alcántara was on the outside looking in on the Opening Day roster picture, and without Minor League options, his move off the 40-man roster was likely coming by the end of Spring Training. The 24-year-old homered in his first Major League at-bat in September, but he ended up batting .143 (3-for-21) in his late-season stint. He got off to a hot start in winter ball and finished with a .257 average (18-for-70) with two homers and eight RBIs for Licey in the Dominican League.