Wilson Ramos, the 22-year-old catcher the Nationals got as the centerpiece of their trade with the Twins for Matt Capps, talked with reporters this afternoon on a conference call, saying he was excited for the opportunity to play with the Nationals.
Compared to where he was, he should be.
Ramos goes from Minnesota, where he would have been perpetually blocked by Joe Mauer, to a team that should offer him a good chance to start.
"I think I did a really good job with the Twins. It's not my decision. Minnesota needed a pitcher (when I was sent down), and I was blocked by Joe Mauer."
General manager Mike Rizzo said Ramos, who was in the majors for a week this year when Mauer was hurt, would be a September call-up "at least." From there, he'll probably compete for a spot on the roster next spring.
In fact, Rizzo talked on Friday afternoon like he was surprised the Twins would part with him.
"We don't make any excuses for (the deal). He started off slow, got sidetracked and went to the big leagues (with the Twins) and performed well up in the big leagues and then came back down," Rizzo said. "We feel we have no real explanation for it. But we've scouted him for years and we see big time upside as not only an offensive catcher, but as a defensive catcher too."
If Ramos is on the Opening Day roster in 2011, he'll likely be sharing time with Ivan Rodriguez, who Ramos said was one of his favorite players when he was growing up in Venezuela.
"I'm really excited to play with him," Ramos said. "I want to learn with him. He's got 12, 13 Gold Gloves."
For now, Ramos will go to Triple-A Syracuse for a month, at most. His future in the big leagues with the team isn't far away.