Brodie Van Wagenen gave Wilson Ramos a vote of confidence last week, asserting that he considers Ramos his starting catcher entering 2020.
Message received – and appreciated.
“I’m very happy for what he said,” Ramos said on Thursday after delivering a Thanksgiving meal to a family in Elmhurst, Queens, part of the Mets’ sixth annual turkey giveaway throughout the city.
“That gives me more confidence to keep working hard this offseason and come back for the spring strong and in better shape. That’s what I’m doing right now.”
Ramos, 32, who signed a two-year, $19 million contract last offseason, was maligned for his defense in 2019. Then, late in the season, Noah Syndergaard reportedly requested a catcher other than Ramos for his starts.
That sort of thing prompted speculation the Mets would look to upgrade, which prompted Van Wagenen’s public support, and which also has prompted Ramos to focus on his defense this offseason, in particular his framing of pitches.
He said he will catch balls both from a machine and pitchers, looking for balls coming from varying angles and making sure his hands are “soft.”
“I heard a lot of bad things about me this year behind the plate, but I focus on getting better,” he said.
Asked whether criticism bothers him, he said, “No, I learn from the bad things. I like to take those comments to help me to get better. I don’t feel bad at all. I just try to get those bad things to motivate me to keep working hard.
As for Syndergaard, he said, “It’s going to be good. We finished the season talking a little bit more. We got better communication at the end of the season and that will help us to get better for next year.
“I know at the beginning of the season that was a tough year for us communicating, but at the end of the season we got really good communication.”
Ramos said he would be happy to help any new catchers the team brings into the fold, but he said has not and will not focus on free agents whom the team might look at.
“If Brodie says I will be the catcher for next year, I trust him on that,” he said.
Ramos said new manager Carlos Beltran has reached out to him on the phone on a couple of occasions, and he liked what he heard, as well as what he knows of Beltran’s reputation from his playing days.
Ramos, a Venezuelan who speaks English well, endorsed the notion that a bilingual manager such as Beltran will be a boost for players who speak only Spanish.
“Those guys will have more confidence to talk to the manager, and that’s better for us,” he said.
Shreve gets invite: The Mets will have lefthanded reliever Chasen Shreve at spring training as a non-roster invitee, a source confirmed. Shreve, 29, has pitched for three teams over his six-year career. He spent four seasons with the Yankees from 2015-18, going 14-6 with two saves and a 3.92 ERA. Shreve has also pitched for the Cardinals and Braves. He was 1-0 with a 9.00 ERA in three games with the Cardinals last season.
With Tim Healey and Mike Rose