Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen said after swinging the blockbuster deal for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz that as he continued to build the team, he wanted to eliminate as many "ifs" as possible from the roster.
"One of the things that I think this club suffered from the last couple years was putting a lot of weight into 'ifs,'" Van Wagenen said on Dec. 4. "If player X is healthy, if player X rebounds to have another year, if we have a breakout season from a young player. My goal is that we try to eliminate as many 'ifs' as possible."
With the above in mind, SNY's Steve Gelbs asked Van Wagenen on Tuesday why new catcher Wilson Ramos -- who has missed significant time due to injury most seasons of his career -- doesn't qualify as an "if."
"First off, I don't think he's an 'if' in the batters box, and that was a big piece for us, too -- is to know that we would be inserting a right-handed hitter in our lineup that we can count on and bank on. And then behind the plate, I think you have to protect any catcher."
Van Wagenen added that the presence of Travis d'Arnaud and/or Kevin Plawecki as Ramos' capable backup would mean being able to not rely on him too heavily and risk injury.
"The idea is that hopefully -- we have Wilson for at least two years -- so we're not gonna feel like there's an obligation or a necessity to run him out there 130 times behind the plate. ... our goal is to try to not overtax him or overwork him or overwork him because we have other competent catchers on the roster to be able to give him some breathers."
In addition to giving Ramos breathers by having d'Arnaud or Plawecki play often, Van Wagenen said the team could also use Ramos at first base at times.
The 31-year-old Ramos has been bothered by hamstring issues during his career, and was limited to 111 games in 2018 because of it.
The other main issue he dealt with was an ACL injury that required surgery in 2016 and cost him a large chunk of the 2017 season.
Ramos said Tuesday that his knee is 100 percent. His main focus this offseason has been on his agility as he aims to remain healthy for the full season.