Tim Kurkjian reports that Ben Sheets is tan, rested and ready:
“That was my first summer off. No baseball player can even remember the
last summer he had off. I did July 4th and Labor Day with the family.
The time off refreshed me. It made me realize how much I love baseball.
I missed the camaraderie with the guys. I feel fantastic . . . It was frustrating not being able to play, but it made me want to play even more in the 2010 season.”
His first step towards that goal comes Tuesday when Sheets is going to audition for anyone who might be interested at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. Sheets claims to be healthy and says that “they’re going to like what they see.”
Lots of teams are likely interested, including the Mets, Phillies and if they have any brains, the Dodgers. Kurjian says, however, that Seattle may be a dark horse, given Sheets’ relationship with GM Jack Zduriencik, who used to be in Milwaukee.
The Mets have signed catcher Wilson Ramos to a two-year deal, SNY’s Andy Martino reports. The total value of the contract is $19 million, per Fancred’s Jon Heyman.
Ramos, 31, split last season between the Rays and Phillies, putting up one of the best offensive seasons among catchers. In 416 total plate appearances, he hit .306/.358/.487 with 15 home runs and 70 RBI.
Ramos will presumably get the lion’s share of plate appearances behind the plate with Travis d'Arnaud backing him up. Grandal was made a qualifying offer, so the Mets would have had to forfeit a draft pick to sign him. And, of course, Realmuto would have cost prospects. Ramos simply costs money.
The Mets were aggressively pursuing a catching upgrade, having been involved in rumors surrounding J.T. Realmuto and Yasmani Grandal, but ultimately settled on Ramos. New GM Brodie Van Wagenen has made a significant impact on the team already, having also added second baseman Robinson Canó and closer Edwin Díaz from a trade with the Mariners.