Ramos becomes a free agent after the best season of his career ended with an anterior cruciate ligament tear.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Washington Nationals will not extend the qualifying offer to Wilson Ramos, according to people with knowledge of the situation, making the all-star catcher a free agent. The Nationals had until 5 p.m. Eastern Monday to give him the offer, which is a one-year, $17.2 million contract. Had the Nationals offered it, Ramos would have had seven days to accept. Instead, Ramos will explore the free-agent market in search of long-term financial security immediately and his Nationals career may be over.
The Nationals proposing Ramos the qualifying offer — and Ramos turning it down — was a given this summer as he emerged as one of the best offensive catchers in baseball during his first all-star campaign. He was healthy and in great shape, putting himself in position to finally fulfill the potential that made him one of baseball’s top catching prospects when the Nationals landed him as part of a trade for Matt Capps in 2010. And with the help from eye surgery to improve his vision, he posted career highs in batting average, on-base-plus-slugging percentage, home runs, RBI and games played. His 3.5 Wins Above Replacement, per FanGraphs, was tied for third among catchers. Paying him $17.2 million for 2017 would have been a bargain.
Then he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee for the second time in five years on a rainy night at Nationals Park on Sept. 26. His season, and possibly his Nationals career, suddenly ended in the cruelest of ways, two days after Washington had clinched the National League East title and on the brink of the postseason. This winter was supposed to be the 29-year-old Ramos’s chance to cash in on an optimally timed breakout season. Now he enters free agency in an unusual situation with questions surrounding his future.