NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The Rays addressed their desire to upgrade the catching situation on Tuesday night when they agreed with free-agent catcher Wilson Ramos on a two-year deal -- pending a physical -- sources told MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi.
The club has not confirmed the deal.
According to multiple reports, Ramos' deal is for $12.5 million and includes playing time incentives to make up to $18.25 million over the two years.
The Rays went into the offseason with the tandem of Luke Maile and Curt Casali penciled in as their catchers for 2017. However, throughout the offseason, club officials expressed a desire to upgrade at the position.
Most conventional thoughts had the Rays trading one of their coveted starting pitchers to acquire catching help. Now, the Rays can either use a starter or two to acquire some of the other pieces on their wish list -- an outfielder and bullpen help -- or they might stand pat with their rotation.
Ramos is recovering from a torn ACL in his right knee sustained on Sept. 26, making the physical all the more important.
Ramos, 29, was a first-time All-Star for the Nationals in 2016 before the season-ending injury. He underwent surgery on Oct. 14, after which the Nationals set a tentative six-to-eight month recovery timetable. That would place Ramos' potential return somewhere from mid-April to mid-June next season.
Ramos would likely be used as the designated hitter initially before moving behind the plate.
Had Ramos not been injured, it's likely the Nationals would have extended him a qualifying offer after last season.
Before his injury, Ramos hit .307 with 22 home runs and 80 RBIs in 131 games for the Nationals.
Fantasy spin | Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB)
Coming off a breakout 2016 campaign, Ramos would rank among the Top 5 catchers in '17 drafts if he were not recovering from right knee surgery. Still, the 29-year-old will be worth a mid-round pick in mixed leagues on the expectation that he can contribute upon his return to health. By adding Ramos to a lineup that ranked 14th in the American League in runs scored last season, the Rays have likely boosted the counting-stat opportunities for key cogs such as Evan Longoria and Logan Forsythe.
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.