MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Ramos aims to up offensive production in '16

Gold Glove finalist is free agent at season's end, but focus is on field

Ramos aims to up offensive production in '16

VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos is aware he is a free agent after the 2016 season, but that is the last thing on his mind. It's about getting better on the field. According to Ramos, he has seen players lose their focus on the field because they were thinking too much about their impending free agency.

"I know it's hard not to think about a contract," Ramos said. "It's my last year before I become a free agent. I know a lot of people who think too much about free agency, so I don't want to do that. I want to stay focused [on the field] this year and see what happens [later] about next year."

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Ramos, 28, is looking to do better than what he did last year. Yes, he caught two no-hitters from teammate Max Scherzer and was a finalist for the Gold Glove Award. But Ramos was not pleased by his performance in the batter's box. It was his worst as a member of the Nationals, hitting .229 with 15 home runs, 68 RBIs, a .258 on-base percentage and a career-high 101 strikeouts. Unlike in years past, injuries were not the issue. It was a mental problem at the plate. Ramos vows it will be a different story in 2016.

"I'm trying to concentrate more on the strike zone, trying to put the ball in play more," Ramos said. "Hopefully this year, I'll try to do a better job than last year. Last year was not a good year offensively, but it happens in baseball. I have to turn the page, and I'll see what I can do this year."

Ramos prevents stolen base

There is no question that Ramos is one of the best defensive catchers in the National League, and he is looking to do even better this year. He reiterated that he wants to stay on the same page with the Nationals' pitchers.

"It's amazing what I did in the past couple of years," Ramos said about his work behind the plate. "But I have to keep doing it. I'm behind the plate to help my pitchers. I will try to do my best. ... I'm very happy with what I did last year. I will try to do the same this year."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.