Wilson Ramos said he still is surprised when he’s not in the starting lineup, although it has happened more often in the last month than it had since he established himself as one of the premier offensive catchers in baseball.
Since June 8 — a game in which Jacob deGrom took a shutout into the ninth inning with backup Tomas Nido behind the plate — Ramos has started only 15 of 24 games. He was on the bench for Saturday night’s game against the Phillies.
Ramos, who will be 32 on Aug. 10, has sat out seven of the last 17 games despite a .275/.350/.413 slash line, nine home runs and 41 RBIs. Nido, 25, has a .244/.263/.272 slash line but posted a .275/.310/.350 line in 40 at-bats in June.
“I get surprised sometimes, but I don’t make the decisions here,” Ramos said. “I don’t make the lineup. I have to respect that decision.
“That’s the first time it’s happened in my career. This is happening right now and I’m healthy. It’s not easy. It’s not easy because I’ve been playing a lot during my career, almost every day when I’m healthy. But right now, it’s different.”
One thing that wouldn’t surprise Ramos is a trade. Dealt twice in his career near the July 31 deadline, Ramos could be a product of a potential Mets fire sale. Signed in the offseason to a two-year contract with a club option for 2021, he’ll be owed only $10.75 million after this season.
Playoff contenders seeking offensive punch behind the plate could be calling general manager Brodie Van Wagenen if the Mets continue their slide.
“If they make a decision to trade me, you know, it’s happened before in my career, so it’s not going to surprise me,” Ramos said. “I’m here to help my team. I’m here to win. I’m here to do my job.”
Ramos was behind the plate Friday night catching deGrom, who threw seven innings of two-run ball before Edwin Diaz and the bullpen turned a 2-2 game in the ninth into a 7-2 Phillies win. Still, Nido has been deGrom’s preferred catcher since June 8, and he’s also become a favorite of Noah Syndergaard, Saturday night’s starting pitcher.
The numbers reinforce their preferences. With Ramos catching, deGrom owns a 4.21 ERA over 47 innings. With Nido, he has a 1.83 ERA over 59 innings.
Syndergaard’s splits are similar. He owns a 4.69 ERA over 71 innings with Ramos but a 2.29 ERA over 19 2⁄3 innings with Nido.
“If they feel comfortable with me, it’s fine,” Ramos said. “If they don’t feel comfortable with me, I’m just behind the plate to protect them. That’s part of my job, and I have to keep doing it.”
According to Baseball Prospectus’ catching metric “fielding runs above average,” which grades catchers based on numbers of plays made, expected plays made and other factors, Ramos ranks 89th of 95 qualifiers with a mark of negative-5.2. Nido ranks 29th with 1.5.
“He’s got a good future,” Ramos said. “I got my doors open to keep helping him. I’m happy for him. Nothing against him.”