- Associated Press - Monday, December 12, 2016

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - The Tampa Bay Rays have finalized a two-year, $12.5 million contract with free agent catcher Wilson Ramos.

Ramos, a 29-year-old recovering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, is guaranteed $4 million next year and $8.5 million in 2018.

He can earn additional performance bonuses based on plate appearances of $2 million next year and $750,000 in 2018, and has a 2018 salary escalator worth up to $3 million, based on starts next year.

Ramos was a NL All-Star last season with the Washington Nationals, batting .307 with 22 homers and 80 RBIs in 131 games. He’s expected to return from his knee injury at some point next summer.

Senior vice president of baseball operations Chaim Bloom said the team is excited about what Ramos potentially adds on both offense and defense, adding that when healthy “Ramos is one of the best all-around catchers in baseball.”

The Rays cleared room on the 40-man roster by designating catcher Justin O’Conner for assignment.

Ramos made his major league debut with Minnesota in 2010. He was dealt to the Nationals at the trade deadline that season and has batted .269 with 83 homers and 321 RBIs over portions of seven major league seasons.

For 2017, Ramos would earn $125,000 each for 300 and 325 plate appearances, and $250,000 each for 350 and each additional 25 through 500. For 2018, he would get $250,000 apiece for 450, 475 and 500.

If he does not finish 2017 on the disabled list, his 2018 salary would increase by $2 million for 55 starts next year and $250,000 for each additional five through 75.

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