Wilson Ramos, C
When it comes to catching, many major league organizations will sacrifice offensive production for attributes including above average arm talent, pitch framing, game managing, or a combination of all three.
The Cubs already have a young catching stud in Willson Contreras, known as possessing one of the most elite arms in the game. However, it has yet to be seen if Willy can take the next steps forward in becoming a consistent offensive force. As such, the Cubs have been rumored to be targeting a veteran backstop this offseason with better pitch framing qualities to sit behind Contreras.
Enter Wilson Ramos. The nine year veteran has accumulated significant innings behind the dish for four major league organizations. Not to mention, he was a top-5 catcher in terms of WAR behind none other than Willson Contreras.
Despite producing at an overall similar level, Ramos and Contreras provide value in very different ways to their team. Contreras, as mentioned briefly before, has one of the strongest arms in baseball. Paired with his offensive potential that he flashed in 2017, Contreras still has the upside to become one of the best catchers in baseball. However, its pitch framing where he lacks and where the Cubs must be better.
Contreras ranked dead last out of 117 ranked catchers in 2018 in framing runs at a shameful -17.8 runs. For comparison, Ramos ranked 48th in the majors in this same metric. This tangible upgrade at pitch framing would help the Cubs significantly on days that Contreras doesn’t catch.
More importantly, this upgrade at pitch framing wouldn’t come at the cost of decreased offensive production. In fact, Ramos ranked first in wRC+ (131) and wOBA (.361) in 2018 among catchers with at least 100 plate appearances.
Ramos seems like a clear fit for the Cubs who are looking to become better defensively at catcher. Not to mention, they are in search of a veteran presence in the clubhouse that Ramos assuredly could provide.