05 December 2009
As I mentioned yesterday, there is perhaps no more controversial player in the Twins' organization than Wilson Ramos. His future status with the club has been highly scrutinized and the "should-he-stay/should-he-go" debate has come to an aiguille these past weeks, as prospect rankings are pouring out.
Although I rank him as the sixth best prospect in the Minnesota organization, Ramos is one of the best catching prospects in the league. His bat alone, when fully developed, could sustain him in the major leagues as a designated hitter. Coupling that with his above-average defense from behind the plate, and Wilson Ramos is certainly a prospect to keep your eyes on this next year.
That said, there is a certain Joe Mauer who will hopefully be squatting behind the home plate in Target Field for the next decade or two*. Ramos' path to the majors as a catcher is certainly blocked, which raises the question Twins' fans have regarding Ramos: Should he stay with the organization, or be used as a valuable trade chip?
(*And the rest of this piece will assume that Mauer is re-signed to a long-term deal.)
The return on any trade involving Ramos would certainly be high. Trading Ramos and another mid-level prospect for a solid, established starting pitcher wouldn't be the worst idea, but would a move like that come back to bite us in five years? Would receiving three or four years' worth of a starting pitcher justify moving a potential perrenial All-Star off the roster?
Many don't think so.
Perhaps the best solution for the Twins would be to utilize Ramos as a designated hitter for the majority of the season, and having him replace Mauer defensively when need be. This could usher in Mauer's seemingly inevitable (albeit highly debatable) move to either third base or the outfield, as he would have a more-than-capable catcher waiting in the wings.
Of course, if Minnesota could land a pitcher like Josh Johnson in a trade involving Ramos, the Twins' brass will be posed a rather difficult question. With Johnson on the roster, the Twins would have more than a fair chance at winning at least one postseason series. Ramos is gaining some league-wide notoriety from his impressive .361/.421/.585 batting line so far in the Venezuelan Winter League. Some feel his value has peaked as a prospect and he should be traded now, while his value is high.
Others, though, like myself, are holding out on the chance that strong Ramos will develop a power game that should net him 20-25 home runs per season in the big leagues. If the Twins hold onto Ramos, we will reap the rewards in a few short seasons.
Where do you stand? Should Ramos be traded now, later, or never?
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