It’s no secret new Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen had his heart set on a new catcher this offseason.
He went hard after Marlins All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto in a trade, before inking veteran free-agent Wilson Ramos to a two-year deal with an option for a third worth a maximum of $26 million.
Van Wagenen called Ramos a “perfect fit” at a Dec. 18 press conference at Citi Field.
But reportedly Van Wagenen made a big offer to another free agent backstop before turning his attention to Ramos.
The Mets made a four-year, $60 million offer to Yasmani Grandal, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday. He turned the Mets down, a person with knowledge of the situation told the Times’ Jorge Castillo.
Grandal, 30, an All-Star with the Dodgers in 2015, turned down L.A.’s $17.9 million qualifying offer to test the market. The Times reported a reunion with the Dodgers is unlikely as the franchise isn’t looking to offer him a long-term deal.
Van Wagenen, the player-agent-turned-GM, had looked to make a second big offseason splash when he targeted Realmuto during the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas. He even explored a potential three-team trade that would have sent Noah Syndergaard to the Yankees.
His first big move of his Mets tenure was to bring elite closer Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano to Flushing in exchange for Jay Bruce, Anthony Swarzak and a pair of prospects, including Jarred Kelenic.
Grandal – considered the best catcher on the free-agent market – might struggle to find a better deal than the one the Mets reportedly offered after his defense was exposed during the Dodgers’ postseason run. He was benched twice during the playoffs for his struggles behind the plate.
Ramos, if he can stay healthy, definitely gives the Mets an offensive upgrade at the position. He slashed .306/.358/.487 with 15 home runs split between the Rays and Phillies last season and earned his second All-Star nod.
Last season the Mets catchers – Travis d’Arnaud, Kevin Plawecki, Devin Mesoraco, Tomas Nido and Jose Lobaton – combined for a woeful .208 with just 17 home runs and 70 RBI.
The Mets tendered d’Arnaud – who missed most of 2018 after Tommy John surgery – after the season due to the uncertain catching market.
The big concern with Ramos is his injury history. He played just 111 games last season after a July hamstring injury and he has twice torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
But Van Wagenen said the Mets did their due diligence on Ramos.