One of the Mets' biggest needs this offseason was improving the catcher position. They not only wanted a solid defensive player, but one that also made an impact in the batter's box.
Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen ended up signing veteran C Wilson Ramos, calling him "the perfect fit for us" back in December. Ramos has the power bat, strong arm, and defensive prowess at the dish that makes him the everyday catcher heading into Port St. Lucie on Tuesday, as pitchers and catchers officially reported to camp.
Ramos said he is "100 percent" coming into camp, and has been working hard this offseason to last a full season -- the same goal he had when he signed with the Mets back in December.
"[It was] totally different last year," Ramos told the media at the Mets' facility. "Last year I was working out more with my knee, getting stronger. But this year I worked on everything -- agility, speed. I'm not a fast runner, but I needed [to] work on that. That's what I did this offseason, still doing it right now."
The 31-year-old dealt with a hamstring injury last season, as he played 111 games between the Rays and Phillies. But he still produced well at the plate, owning a 306/.358/.487 slash line with 15 homers and 22 doubles.
The Mets will certainly hope to see the same production this season from Ramos, and he hopes to stay in the lineup as much as he possibly can to do so.
"I don't wanna say right now 150, 140 games. But I want to be behind the plate [as] much as I can. And that's what I'm working on right now. I'm working to be healthy and help my team behind the plate."
Finishing the spring healthy and ready for Opening Day is one of Ramos' goals, but he also wants to establish a great relationship with all his new starters that he'll be working with. Once he signed with the Mets, the team gave him a book which detailed each pitcher and what to expect when they're on the bump.
After studying that extensively, Ramos has a good feel for what each player wants, but now wants to work in-person to develop chemistry.
"To me, it [doesn't] take too long. I got a book with good information about those guys here and I read it really good. Got a couple of things to work with them, but Spring Training is for that -- to know each other, work together and that's what I want to do this spring. Catch bullpen and see how they like to throw.
"Communication is very important for us and that's what I want to do today, tomorrow, and this spring."
Ramos has a history catching some of the MLB's best, as he spent parts of seven seasons with the Nationals who touted Max Scherzer, Jordan Zimmermann, and Stephen Strasburg among their starters. But he will be catching another stellar group that includes the reigning National League Cy Young winner in Jacob deGrom as well as Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, and Steven Matz this season.
The Mets are viewed by many as having one of the best, if not the best, rotation in the game. And Ramos is ready to work with them to get their best results all season long.
"Pretty similar," Ramos said when asked to compare the Nats' rotation to the Mets. "We got a good pitching staff, good rotation. Those guys throw the ball really good and I want to work with them and stay on the same page for the season."