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Gio Gonzalez happy to see Ramos' success, hopes he stays with Nats

Gio Gonzalez happy to see Ramos' success, hopes he stays with Nats

The maturation of Wilson Ramos into an All-Star and one of baseball's best catchers has been a joy to watch for many, especially those who know the detailed story of what he's been through both on and off the field during his seven-year MLB career.

Just in the last few months, Ramos has dealt with the death of a close family member, a surgery that required him to leave the Nats briefly during spring training and the unknowns of a contract year.

Free agency can weigh heavily on some players, but not Ramos. With the way he's played, you wouldn't know he's been going through anything out of the ordinary at all.

As good as it feels for Nationals fans to see Ramos reach his potential, imagine being his longtime teammate, a pitcher who has worked with him for five years like Gio Gonzalez. Gonzalez has seen Ramos power through a laundry list of injuries from a torn ACL and MCL, to hamstring pulls to a broken hamate bone in his hand. 

For so long Ramos was sidelined, watching from the dugout. Now he's not only durable, he's dominating in all aspects of the game. He's got the best catcher's ERA (3.28), the best batting average (.327), most RBI (48) and highest OPS (.903) among all MLB backstops.

"I think what people need to understand about Wilson is that he came from working back a couple of injuries to now, where he's showing you that he wants to be a full-time catcher. He wants to be that captain behind the dish," Gonzalez said. 

"Every day he's got a routine. It's impressive. Every day he walks in here and he's immediately getting worked on. He's immediately doing his training. He's showing that he's a veteran to this staff. His presence is known here not only off the field, on the field, in the clubhouse and even when he's up at bat."

Ramos has spoken openly this year about the death of his grandfather, Jesus Campos. Ramos has referenced him after big games, saying he wants to honor his memory this season.

Gonzalez has been impressed with Ramos' resolve in the time since his grandfather's death.

"He's a guy that can look at the obstacle in front of him and say 'I'm going to find a way to get around this,'" Gonzalez said. "The good thing is, we treat him like family. We understand the situation and we embrace him. That's what makes it easier for him to walk into this clubhouse with his head held high and go to work."

It's a real question now whether Ramos will be in Washington beyond this year. The 28-year-old is setting himself up to be one of the most highly sought after free agents this winter, a do-it-all star at a position where offense comes at a premium.

Ramos could become one of the highest paid players at his position. Right now Buster Posey of the Giants leads all catchers with a $20.7 million salary for 2016. Behind him is Brian McCann of the Yankees ($17M), Matt Wieters of the Orioles ($15.8M), Russell Martin of the Blue Jays ($15M) and Yadier Molina of the Cardinals ($14.2M). Those are all very good players, but Ramos has the best numbers this season.

The Nationals, like any team, could use a guy like Ramos for the next few years, but they are starting to stockpile large contracts. Next year Max Scherzer is set to make $22.1 million. Jayson Werth - who turns 38 next May - will make $21 million. Ryan Zimmerman is on the books for $14 million and Stephen Strasburg's extension will kick in, raising his salary to $18.3 million. That's not to mention the longterm financial flexibility they will need to retain Bryce Harper, who could break a record with his next contract.

There's some uncertainty about Ramos' future and Gonzalez would like him to stay in D.C.

"He'd be a great asset to any organization. I really hope he stays here," Gonzalez said. 

"This is where he is very happy. He's a great guy. The fans love him. He's The Buffalo. Who doesn't love The Buffalo?"

[RELATED: Murphy's pinch-hit homer calmed injury concerns]

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With Ross placed on 60-day DL, Nationals agree to 1-year deal with veteran reliever

With Ross placed on 60-day DL, Nationals agree to 1-year deal with veteran reliever

WASHINGTON  -- The Washington Nationals say they have agreed to a one-year deal with 40-year-old reliever Joaquin Benoit.

The team announced the move Wednesday, along with placing pitcher Joe Ross on the 60-day disabled list as he recovers from Tommy John surgery in July.

The Nationals didn't release terms of the agreement, though a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Monday that it was for $1 million.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal wasn't official at the time.

MORE NATIONALS: FULL 2018 SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE

Benoit is a right-hander who first reached the big leagues in 2001. 

He has played for eight teams, finishing last year with Pittsburgh.

He has 764 career appearances, going 58-49 with a 3.83 ERA and 53 saves.

RELATED: 2018 MLB BETTING ODDS

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It's Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

It's Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

So if you have not heard, Bryce Harper is going to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2018 season.

All off-season talking heads, baseball aficionados, radio hosts, etc. were speculating on where the outfielder’s destination will be next year.

And we are still a year away from it actually happening.

RELATED: VEGAS SETS OVER/UNDERS FOR 2018 MLB SEASON

Reporting to spring training on Monday, Harper did not waste any time telling the media how his press conferences were going to play out this season.

“If guys do [ask], or talk anything about that, I will be walking right out the door.”

Entering his seventh season with the Washington Nationals, the 25-year-old is coming off the second-best season, statistically, of his career. The 2015 NL MVP has hit .285 in his career, with 150 home runs and 421 RBIs. Unquestionably he is the face of the Nationals’ organization, if not, the best player in the team’s history.

If he does end the season without a contract extension, he will join Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, and Barry Bonds as the top sought out free agents in MLB history.

One thing is for certain in terms of Harper’s free agency; Harper has given no inclination on where his landing spot will be.  The top three cities are of course his favorite childhood team, the New York Yankees; joining with one of his closest friends with the Chicago Cubs; or just staying with Washington.

Wherever he does land, it does appear that it will be the largest contract given to a free agent ever.

As for now we just wait and direct any of your calls to his agent Scott Boras.

READ ALSO: NATIONALS FULL SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE