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Wilson Ramos couldn’t have had worse timing when he tore his ACL in late September. He was due for a huge free-agent payday after putting up an .850 OPS and 22 home runs in a breakout 2016 season. Now the market for his services is up in the air.

Ramos won’t be out forever, though. His six-to-eight-month recovery time will allow him to return sometime next season. And at 29, it bodes well for him that he’s still relatively youthful. Rather than damaged goods, teams can view him as a strong-armed (34 career CS%) catcher with a dangerous bat. In other words, a rarity.

Ramos’ youth is indeed a positive, but he can still expect teams to take a close look at his right knee. It’s now undergone two serious operations. Elsewhere, teams could also take issue with his history of hamstring injuries.

Put simply, the guy’s pretty beaten up for a catcher who hasn’t even hit the big 3-0 yet. Whether in a long-term contract or a short-term contract, his durability is a question mark.

Since Ramos may not be back healthy until the middle of next season, it doesn’t make sense for him to seek a one-year “prove it” deal this winter. As such, it’s also not surprising that the Washington Nationals didn’t extend him the $17.2 million qualifying offer.

Not being tied to draft pick compensation will make it easier for Ramos to find the four-to-five-year deal he desires, as Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post reported. But that may be a stretch in his current situation. 

Rather, he may be forced to settle for a two-year deal that would allow him to get back on his feet and reenter the market after his age-30 season in 2018. Given his high upside in even one healthy year, that could be a good deal for everyone.

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