Ramos ramping up production in contract year

Ramos ramping up production in contract year

WASHINGTON -- Don't worry about the money. That's the message that Nationals manager Dusty Baker gave to catcher Wilson Ramos in Spring Training. Ramos is in the final year of his contract, but Baker told him don't think about free agency and just play the game.

Those words appear to be very good advice.

Ramos homered in Friday's 9-6 victory over the Phillies and is hitting. 345 with nine homers and 34 RBIs. He's among the Major League leaders in a number of offensive categories this season.

"We had a conversation in Spring Training; I told him just go play," Baker said. "Don't worry about free agency. Don't worry about the money because the money will come if you go play."

Baker said he's been most impressed by the fact that Ramos has not appeared to put any extra pressure on himself with the uncertainty awaiting after this season.

He's hit safely in 37 of 49 games this season, and since 2010, Ramos has thrown out 28.3 percent of runners trying to steal, ninth-best in baseball.

Baker said Ramos has been anchoring the bottom part of the lineup hitting from the No. 7 spot in the order. The skipper added that Ramos' production and demeanor appear to be the same this season. Baker went through this as a player and hit 30 homers during his option year with the Dodgers.

Just do your job, Baker told his catcher, and everything will take care of itself.

"Like they said 'Build it, and they will come,'" Baker said. "Well, if you play, the money will come. Don't put the money ahead of playing. Just play."

Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com based in Washington. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.