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Danny Duffy, Royals Agree on New Contract: Latest Details, Comments, Reaction

The Kansas City Royals and Danny Duffy agreed to terms on a five-year extension worth $65 million, according to Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan.  

The Royals formally announced the extension on Twitter:

The Kansas City Star‘s Rustin Dodd shared a yearly breakdown of the contract:

Duffy was under team control for one more season before he was set to become a free agent next winter, per Spotrac.

The 28-year-old left-hander went 12-3 with a 3.51 ERA in 42 appearances for the Royals in 2016. He began the year in the bullpen before making his first start May 15 and emerging as the Royals’ ace.

According to FanGraphs, Duffy finished with a 3.56 ERA and 3.99 FIP in 26 starts, both of which were the lowest among Kansas City’s regular starting pitchers. Duffy also averaged a career-best 9.42 strikeouts and 2.10 walks per nine innings.

With major question marks over the starting rotation, re-signing Duffy was a great move for Kansas City. Edinson Volquez signed with the Miami Marlins, Ian Kennedy was disappointing in the first year of his five-year deal, and Yordano Ventura took a big step backward in 2016.

Keeping Duffy for the next five years stabilizes the staff, and an average of $13 million is a more than reasonable salary. He won’t even be the highest-paid starter. Kennedy, who is four years older, will earn an average of roughly $15.6 million for the next four seasons, per Spotrac.’s Dan Szymborski tweeted that Duffy’s deal gives the Royals some flexibility:

Kansas City made back-to-back World Series in 2014 and 2015, winning a title the second time around, but general manager Dayton Moore said in October he expected the team’s payroll to “regress a little bit” after the Royals spent relatively big in pursuit of a World Series ring, per Dodd.

Duffy’s extension is evidence, however, that Kansas City’s ownership is still willing to invest in the team to ensure it remains competitive in 2017 and beyond.

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Mallex Smith to Rays in Trade Involving Drew Smyly: Latest Details and Reaction

The Tampa Bay Rays announced Wednesday they traded Drew Smyly to the Seattle Mariners for Mallex Smith and two minor leaguers, Carlos Vargas and Ryan Yarbrough.

Smyly, one of the centerpieces of the trade that sent David Price to the Detroit Tigers in 2014, went 7-12 with a 4.88 ERA in 30 starts for the Rays last year.

The Mariners shared a statement from general manager Jerry Dipoto:

Smith appeared in 72 games for the Atlanta Braves, batting .238 with three home runs and 22 RBI. He was with the Mariners for roughly an hour. Seattle announced earlier in the day they had acquired the 23-year-old.

The Seattle Times‘ Larry Stone remembers Smith’s time in the Pacific Northwest fondly:

Dipoto hasn’t been shy about turning over the roster and minor league farm system to remake the organization. Since taking over in September 2015, he’s made 36 trades, the most by one team during that span, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

Smyly will likely be Seattle’s No. 4 starter in 2017. In Felix Hernandez, James Paxton and Hisashi Iwakuma, the Mariners have three starting pitchers who can anchor the rotation. Smyly provides further depth. He’s also under team control through 2018, so he shouldn’t be just a one-year rental.

The Seattle Times‘ Ryan Divish noted Smith was the final piece Dipoto needed before he could pull the trigger on the Smyly deal.

Smith is a bit like Cincinnati Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton in that he boasts impressive speed, but questions remain about whether he can get on base enough to make the most of his baserunning ability. After posting a .382 on-base percentage in five minor league seasons, Smith had a .316 on-base percentage in his 215 big league plate appearances last year.

The Rays ranked 28th in batting average (.243) and 27th in on-base percentage (.307) in 2016, so Smith’s issues at the plate are concerning. He’s still young, though, so he’ll have plenty of time to iron out his offensive issues.

Neither Vargas nor Yarbrough will likely help Tampa Bay right away. The 17-year-old Vargas played in 62 Dominican Summer League games, posting a .242/.344/.391 slash line. Yarbrough made 25 starts for Seattle’s Double-A affiliate, going 12-4 with a 2.95 ERA.

Vargas and Yarbrough will help bolster a Rays farm system that has lost a lot of talent in recent years.

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Trevor Plouffe: Latest News, Rumors and Speculation on Free-Agent 3B

Despite being limited to 84 games in 2016, Trevor Plouffe will likely have a few suitors this offseason as teams target more cost-effective corner infield options.

Continue for updates.

Red Sox Show Interest in Plouffe

Tuesday, Dec. 27

The Boston Herald‘s Evan Drellich reported Tuesday the Boston Red Sox are looking to potentially sign Plouffe. However, the Red Sox are waiting until his price tag lowers, so any agreement before the end of 2016 is unlikely.

FanRag Sports’ Jesse Spector was somewhat surprised Boston is taking such a hard line on Plouffe since he’s not in a position to command a hefty salary:

Injuries interrupted Plouffe’s 2016 campaign, and his offensive numbers suffered as a result. He batted a career-high .260, but his slugging percentage dropped from .435 in 2015 to .420. His 12 home runs and 47 runs batted in were his fewest since 2011, when he appeared in 81 games.

The 30-year-old’s home and road splits do raise the question as to whether he can be a productive hitter outside Target Field, per

For that reason, the Red Sox are smart to be wary of overpaying for Plouffe.

According to Drellich, Plouffe might be receptive to the idea of being more of a platoon option rather than an everyday infielder. If that’s the case, then he’d be a nice fit on the Red Sox.

Boston added Mitch Moreland in early December, and Pablo Sandoval will be the team’s starting third baseman now that he’s healthy again.

Plouffe could be an alternative to Moreland at first against left-handed pitching, and he could spell Sandoval at third considering durability was a concern for the two-time All-Star before his season-ending shoulder surgery.

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Joe Maddon Responds to Aroldis Chapman’s Comments on World Series Usage

Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon defended himself Saturday after Aroldis Chapman criticized his usage in the World Series.

Would I do it differently? No,” Maddon said in an interview with the New York Post‘s Kevin Kernan. “There is no Game 7 without winning Game 6. And there is no Game 8 if you don’t win Game 7. That’s why you do what you have to do.”

Chapman appeared in Games 6 and 7 of the Fall Classic. His inclusion in Game 6 was surprising considering the Cubs were up 7-2 at the time. The four-time All-Star had also thrown a season-high 42 pitches two days earlier.

By the time Chapman took the mound in the eighth inning of Game 7, he looked gassed. He allowed an RBI double to Brandon Guyer and then a game-tying home run to Rajai Davis.

The important game was going to be Game 7,” Chapman said of appearing in Game 6, per the New York TimesBilly Witz. “We had that game almost won. And the next day I came in and I was tired.”

Maddon’s position is understandable. The Cubs acquired Chapman exactly for the purpose of pitching in high-leverage situations in the postseason. 

At the same time, Chapman’s critique isn’t without merit. He was overworked in the playoffs, and it nearly cost the Cubs a title.

Maddon told Kernan that Chapman never raised any issues with his workload in the World Series. Chapman, however, said he felt he wasn’t in a position to decline any opportunity to pitch, per Witz:

I never told him my opinion about the way he was using me because the way I feel is that, as baseball players, we’re warriors. Our job is to do what we need to do on the field. But if they send me out there to pitch, I’m going to go out there and pitch. If I’m healthy, I’m going to go out there and pitch. If I’m tired, I’m going to put that aside and just get through it.

Chapman’s workload almost certainly would’ve been a bigger story had the Indians won Game 7. Instead, everything worked out well for him and Maddon.

Together, they helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. Chapman also parlayed his 2016 success into a five-year, $86 million deal with the New York Yankees earlier this month.  

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2017 MLB Free Agents: Rumors and Predictions for Top Available Players

The timing couldn’t be much worse for an aging slugger in MLB free agency.

Mike Napoli (35) and Mark Trumbo (30) are both coming off productive seasons, but they’ve yet to find new homes. Although Jose Bautista (36) had an underwhelming campaign, he still boasts an impressive track record. Despite that, he hasn’t signed with a team, either.

The wait may be worth it. Justin Upton didn’t agree to terms with the Detroit Tigers until January last offseason yet still commanded nearly $133 million over six years, per Spotrac.

Napoli’s, Trumbo’s and Bautista’s signings may not be imminent, but the rumors below illustrate that their failures to get new deals aren’t the result of a lack of interest.


Mike Napoli

Napoli registered career highs in home runs (34) and RBI (101) in 2016, but that hasn’t helped him in free agency, given that he remains without a team.

On Dec. 6,’s Jordan Bastian reported Napoli’s agent is holding out for a multiyear contract. Bastian added the Cleveland Indians were holding firm on a one-year offer.

In an interview on MLB Network Radio last Sunday, Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said contract discussions were ongoing: “We continue the dialogue with him, as we do with other 1B/DH options. Confident we start next year with a better roster.”

Napoli added a lot of power to the middle of Cleveland’s lineup, and “Party at Napoli’s” became a rallying cry for the team as it won its first pennant since 1997.

With that said, the Indians are smart to be cautious about signing Napoli for too long. He turned 35 in October, so it’s risky to expect he can repeat last season’s success at the plate. 

A small-market team like Cleveland can’t afford to make a mistake on a lucrative contract for an older veteran. The Indians learned that lesson the hard way after signing Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher in 2013.

Napoli has found a comfort zone in Cleveland. He would not only have an assured place in the lineup, but he would also have the opportunity to compete for another World Series so long as the key players stay healthy.

Napoli and the Indians should meet halfway and agree to a two-year deal with an option for the second year. Napoli would get his multiyear contract, and Cleveland would have a little more protection should his performance regress.

Prediction: Napoli signs with the Indians.


Jose Bautista

Bautista picked the wrong time to have his worst year offensively since his career renaissance began in 2010.

The 36-year-old had a .234/.366/.452 slash line to go along with 22 home runs and 69 RBI. According to FanGraphs, his strikeout rate climbed to 19.9 percent, up from 15.9 percent the year before.

Like Napoli, Bautista was largely anonymous in the playoffs. He went 6-for-33 in the postseason with two home runs, five RBI and 12 strikeouts.

In addition to his lackluster offensive production,’s Daren Willman showed that defense is becoming a growing concern for Bautista:

On Dec. 6, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Bautista met with the Toronto Blue Jays, indicating the two parties may be open to a reunion.’s Jon Paul Morosi reported that Joey Bats’ available options are dwindling. Morosi spoke to sources who said that the New York Yankees and San Francisco Giants have pulled out of the running and that the Los Angeles Dodgers may prefer a trade rather than free agency to bolster their outfield.

Bautista is a fan favorite in Toronto, and relying on Ezequiel Carrera as their everyday right fielder isn’t an optimal plan for the Blue Jays. Re-signing Bautista wouldn’t just be a sentimental move; it would also address what looks to be an issue in the lineup.

Prediction: Bautista signs with the Blue Jays.


Mark Trumbo

Heyman reported on Dec. 7 that Trumbo is looking to get $80 million in free agency and that the price tag hasn’t scared off teams that are interested in signing the 30-year-old.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch‘s Derrick Goold reported that signing Dexter Fowler wouldn’t preclude the St. Louis Cardinals from going after Trumbo. Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweeted the Colorado Rockies would be in the mix as well, even after making a splashy free-agent addition:’s Roch Kubatko didn’t provide specific figures but reported on Sunday that the Baltimore Orioles “are believed to have the best offer on the table.”

Age is somewhat of an advantage for Trumbo in this year’s free-agent market. At 30, he’s nearing the end of his prime playing years, but he’s still younger than Napoli, Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion (33).

It’s fair to question whether Trumbo can repeat his 47 home runs and 108 RBI, but outside of his time with the Arizona Diamondbacks, he has been a solid power hitter. Over seven years, he has averaged 34 homers, 99 RBI and a .473 slugging percentage per 162 games, according to

The Rockies would be a good fit for Trumbo.

The Ian Desmond signing was a statement of intent by the franchise. Adding Trumbo to a lineup that already includes Desmond, Charlie Blackmon, Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado would give Colorado an imposing offense.

As Rosenthal argued, getting Trumbo would provide the Rockies with enough flexibility to deal Carlos Gonzalez for present or future assets.

Trumbo would likely have a better chance to contend in Baltimore, but the Rockies should be a strong suitor for his services if that isn’t a decisive factor in his decision.

Prediction: Trumbo signs with the Rockies.

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John Danks to Braves: Latest Contract Details, Comments and Reaction

The Atlanta Braves added depth to their starting rotation Monday, agreeing to a minor league deal with left-hander John Danks, according to Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan.

Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball reported Danks will receive $1.5 million if he makes Atlanta’s major league roster.

The 31-year-old is coming off a dreadful 2016 season. He allowed 20 runs (18 earned) in four starts for the Chicago White Sox before they released him in May.

The way my April went and the way the team is playing, I can’t fault anybody with the decision they made,” Danks said at the time, per the Chicago Tribune‘s Colleen Kane. “It’s a win-now league, and I wasn’t helping the team win.”

It was the end of a disappointing tenure for Danks in the Windy City. The White Sox signed him to a five-year, $65 million contract extension in December 2011, and he never finished the five subsequent seasons with an ERA lower than 4.71. According to FanGraphs, his 4.83 FIP is seventh-highest among qualified starting pitchers during that stretch.

Danks hasn’t been the same pitcher since undergoing shoulder surgery in August 2012. Whereas his average fastball velocity sat comfortably in the 91-92 mph range from 2007 to 2011, it hasn’t eclipsed 90 mph since his injury-shortened 2012 campaign, per Brooks Baseball:

Despite his issues, signing Danks is a worthwhile risk for Atlanta.

If the Braves determine his days as an MLB-caliber starting pitcher are over, then they didn’t make a significant financial commitment and they can offload him with little difficulty in the spring.

Should Danks emerge as a back-end rotation option, he’ll be a massive bargain. Andrew Cashner will likely be the Texas Rangers’ No. 4 or 5 starter, and he’ll be making $10 million in 2017.

After Rich Hill went from pitching in an independent league in 2015 to becoming the best free-agent pitcher this offseason, a comeback for Danks isn’t completely out of the question.

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Justin Wilson Trade Rumors: Latest News and Speculation on Tigers RP

In October, Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila said the team would be active this offseason, and as the franchise shifts its focus, left-handed reliever Justin Wilson could be on the move.

Continue for updates.

Astros, Tigers Reportedly Discuss Wilson

Tuesday, Dec. 13

Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported the Houston Astros have talked with the Tigers regarding a deal for Wilson.

Cubs Show Interest in Wilson

Monday, Dec. 12

Morosi reported the Chicago Cubs have inquired about Wilson’s availability.

Wilson Is Valuable Target Despite Down 2016

Wilson is coming off a somewhat disappointing 2016 season. He finished with a 4.14 ERA and a 3.18 FIP, both of which were down from his 3.10 ERA and 2.69 FIP in 2015, per

Despite that dip,’s Jason Beck reported Dec. 6 the Tigers were receiving a lot of interest in Wilson during the winter meetings.

The 29-year-old is under team control for the next two years, which will make him an attractive option for teams hoping to strengthen their bullpens. Beck noted the St. Louis Cardinals recently signed Brett Cecil for four years and $30.5 million, so Wilson would be a nice bargain given the market for relievers.

A few signs indicate Wilson’s luck will turn around in 2017 as well.

According to FanGraphs, opposing hitters batted .340 on balls in play against Wilson, which was ninth-highest among qualified relievers. Should his BABIP fall closer to his career average of .293, per FanGraphs, his ERA will rebound.

In addition, Wilson posted career bests in strikeouts (9.97) and walks (2.61) per nine innings (not including his eight-game 2012 season), so neither his control nor his command was a problem last year.

If the Tigers want to stay competitive, trading Wilson may not be in their best interest since middle relievers can be a valuable asset for a contending team. Should Detroit’s fortunes take a tumble, though, he’d be a luxury rather than a necessity, thus making him a natural trade chip in the middle of the season.

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Jurickson Profar Trade Rumors: Latest News and Speculation on Rangers 3B

As the Texas Rangers look to get over the hump and win their first World Series, infielder Jurickson Profar may be surplus to requirements should the Rangers prioritize short-term success over their long-term outlook. 

Continue for updates.

Rangers, Nationals Discussed Profar Trade

Monday, Dec. 12

Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported Monday that Texas had talked with the Washington Nationals about a trade involving Profar. Rosenthal added the Rangers hoped to land right-hander Joe Ross. The Nationals eventually went in a different direction and traded for center fielder Adam Eaton.

Starting pitching is one of Texas’ biggest weaknesses, so using Profar as a trade chip to address the problem makes sense. 

And for as much potential as Profar has, his departure would alleviate the Rangers’ infield logjam. Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus and Rougned Odor aren’t going anywhere, which leaves first base as the only realistic position for the 23-year-old.

With 12 home runs and a .341 slugging percentage in 184 career MLB games, Profar doesn’t boast the power to be a productive offensive first baseman.

The Rangers may instead look to Joey Gallo, who hit 25 home runs in Triple-A last year. Mike Napoli and Edwin Encarnacion are available in free agency as well.

Profar’s career hasn’t quite met expectations after Baseball America ranked him the top prospect in MLB in 2013.

A change of scenery may help him get his development back on track. Having battled shoulder problems in 2014 and 2015—which limited him to 12 games during the two seasons combined—he’ll also benefit from having a full spring training without any questions over his health.

Given his defensive versatility—he played five positions during the course of 2016—Profar could be an important player for the Rangers in 2017, but Texas is smart to at least examine his trade value if it can add a veteran starting pitcher.

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MLB Rule 5 Draft 2016: Date, Start Time, Format and Top Prospects

As part of the winter meetings, representatives from all 30 MLB teams will convene in National Harbor, Maryland, for the 2016 Rule 5 draft.

This year’s draft will begin Thursday at 9 a.m. ET, and will provide a live stream.

In the past, a few teams have struck gold in the Rule 5 draft. The Cincinnati Reds selected Josh Hamilton in 2006 and traded him to the Texas Rangers for Edinson Volquez in December 2007. The Minnesota Twins walked out of the 1999 Rule 5 draft with Johan Santana.

For the most part, though, the event is a mere formality of the offseason. Baseball America‘s J.J. Cooper wrote that some team representatives bring their luggage with them to the draft, so they can make a quicker exit once it’s over.

MLB’s rules regarding who is eligible for the Rule 5 draft significantly depletes the available talent pool. outlined the criteria for eligibility:

Players who were signed when they were 19 or older and have played in professional baseball for four years are eligible, as are players who were signed at 18 and have played for five years.

All players on a Major League Baseball team’s 40-man roster, regardless of other eligibility factors, are ‘protected’ and ineligible for the Rule 5 Draft.

There’s no guarantee a player will stay with the team that selected him, either. After paying $50,000 to his previous team, the receiving team has to keep the player on the 25-man squad for the entire regular season, otherwise his former team can pay $25,000 to get him back.

For instance, right-handed pitcher Josh Martin returned to the Cleveland Indians in April after the San Diego Padres decided he wouldn’t be a part of their major league roster in 2016.

Here’s the order for this year’s Rule 5 draft, courtesy of’s Jonathan Mayo:

The four players below aren’t guaranteed to change teams Thursday, but they’re among the best talents available.


Top Prospects

Yimmi Brasoban, RHP, San Diego Padres

Yimmi Brasoban‘s health issues may preclude him from hearing his name called in the Rule 5 draft. After suffering from elbow and forearm problems, the 22-year-old had a plasma injection in November in order to try to prevent surgery.

Exposing Brasoban to the Rule 5 draft is a calculated gamble by the San Diego Padres. It opened up a spot on their 40-man roster, but they opened the door for another team to select him.

In February,’s Mike Rosenbaum wrote Brasoban boasted the best slider in the Padres’ minor league system, giving it a 60 on the 20-80 grading scale.

The right-hander spent the bulk of the 2016 season with San Diego’s Double-A affiliate, making 29 appearances and posting a 3.03 earned run average. According to, his fastball averaged 95.09 mph, and his slider clocked in at 88.09 mph on the 15 pitches tracked by the site.

Given his impressive stuff, Brasoban could be a relief option for an MLB team in 2017 assuming he doesn‘t experience any setbacks after his plasma procedure.


Daniel Gibson, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks

Daniel Gibson’s 2016 was a mixed bag. He earned a promotion to the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Triple-A affiliate following a successful stint in Double-A. Upon reaching Triple-A, his numbers fell off a cliff. Here’s a look at the splits:

Some regression is to be expected when making the transition up the minor leagues. Gibson took that to the extreme. He averaged nearly twice as many walks per nine innings (6.0) in Triple-A than he did in Double-A (3.2), per

Still, his fastball averaged 92.14 mph in 2015 and 93.66 mph in 2016 when tracked by, and he’s a year removed from striking out 10 batters per nine innings. The fact that he has risen high through Arizona’s ranks will make him an enticing Rule 5 pick as well.


Eric Wood, 3B, Pittsburgh Pirates

Eric Wood’s improved work at the plate may be enough for a team to take a flier on him in the Rule 5 draft.

Wood had two home runs and 28 runs batted in and slugged .305 in 373 plate appearances for the Double-A Altoona Curve in 2015. In 2016, his slugging percentage climbed to .443, and he hit 16 home runs with 50 RBI in 464 plate appearances.

That production carried over to the Arizona Fall League, where Wood had a .330/.388/.489 slash line with three homers and 20 RBI in 23 games, per Those numbers helped him earn top honors, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette‘s Stephen J. Nesbitt:

His power slipped during his brief stint in the Dominican Winter League: one home run, six RBI and a .353 slugging percentage.

Finding a third baseman with power isn’t easy, so Wood will be an alluring target in the draft, even if there are questions about whether his offensive success will be repeated in 2017.


Jordan Guerrero, LHP, Chicago White Sox

Jordan Guerrero experienced control problems during his first season in Double-A, averaging 4.8 walks per nine innings, according to As a result, his stock slipped quite a bit.

FanGraphsDan Farnsworth ranked him as the Chicago White Sox’s fifth-best prospect in January. On Monday, Farnsworth’s colleague, Eric Longenhagen, listed Guerrero at No. 19.

In June, Baseball Prospectus’ Collin Whitchurch saw a potentially bleak future for Guerrero: “Guerrero never profiled as much more than a possible back-end starter, but if he doesn‘t adjust to the struggles he’s seen in Double-A, he may fall back into obscurity.”

The trouble with selecting Guerrero is that he’s almost certainly more than a year away from reaching the majors given his poor year, so putting him on the 25-man roster would be risky.

With that said, he pitched 285 combined innings the last two seasons, and he has struck out 256 batters during that stretch. An MLB team might think he’s worth reaching for in the draft.

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Wilson Ramos to Rays: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

Following a career year in 2016, catcher Wilson Ramos cashed in this offseason, reportedly agreeing to a two-year contract with the Tampa Bay Rays, according to the New York Post‘s Joel Sherman

FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman confirmed the deal and provided the financial particulars:

Ramos and Miami Marlins backstop J.T. Realmuto tied for the third-highest WAR (3.5) among qualified catchers last season, per FanGraphs. Despite his success at the plate, there were some questions as to Ramos’ market value after a torn ACL ended his campaign in September.

Sherman reported the Rays’ offer is pending a physical, which remains a question mark for Ramos. Sherman added that the length of the deal could benefit the catcher:

Torn ACL aside, the 29-year-old picked a great time to have his best MLB season at the plate. In 131 games, he had a .307/.354/.496 slash line along with 22 home runs and 80 runs batted in.

In March, Ramos explained to’s Cash Kruth how having Lasik surgery benefited his plate vision:

More comfortable and I’m seeing the pitch really, really well after surgery. Now I can say the surgery helped me to be better at the plate. …

It’s making me feel comfortable and making me feel excited, because before I was swinging at everything. Ball, strike, I was feeling very bad sometimes because I’d say, ‘That was a bad pitch, why did I swing?’ Now I feel more comfortable at the plate. It’s only four or five games after surgery, but I see the difference now.

Heyman reported the Washington Nationals had offered Ramos a three-year deal worth about $30 million during the season, and he turned it down. On Sept. 15, Heyman speculated Ramos could command $68 million over four years.

That was before the injury, though, which was the second time he had torn the ACL in his right knee.

While the torn ACL hurt Ramos’ value, he benefited from what was a thin talent pool in free agency. Teams looking for immediate offensive help didn’t have a wealth of options from which to choose. Ramos was also the best catcher on the market.

With that said, his signing comes with a few concerns.

In the likely event his torn ACL forces him to play less at catcher, he loses some of his value. Hitting 20-plus home runs and driving in 80 runs is great for a catcher but less so for a first baseman or designated hitter.

To a certain extent, it’s the same problem the Minnesota Twins have with Joe Mauer. Using Mauer at first base is the best way to keep him healthy, but the Twins can no longer expect a full return on the $23 million a year they’re paying him. According to FanGraphs, Mauer’s .389 slugging percentage was second-worst among qualified first basemen.

Whether Ramos can maintain last year’s production is questionable as well. His .327 batting average on balls in play was third-best among qualified catchers and 36 points higher than his career BABIP (.291), per FanGraphs.

He can attribute some of his improvement to the Lasik surgery—a factor that should carry over to next year. Ramos also had his fair share of good luck, which isn’t a given from one season to the next.

In 2014, Russell Martin had a .336 BABIP—a career high—which in part helped him post his highest WAR (4.9) since 2008, per FanGraphs. He turned his big season into a five-year, $82 million deal with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Martin’s performance leveled off a bit in his first two years with Toronto. In 2016, he batted .231 with 20 home runs and 74 RBI and finished with 1.7 WAR.

Ramos might have a similar decline in 2017. Still, the Rays are smart to take the risk.

According to FanGraphs, Tampa Bay had the third-worst collective WAR (minus-0.1) at catcher in 2016. Ramos will be the Rays’ best catcher since Dioner Navarro in the late 2000s, and he should be a significant upgrade over Curt Casali.

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