The real payoff for the Rays signing C Wilson Ramos last off-season will come in 2018, when he can play a full season fully recovered from right knee surgery.
And Ramos is giving the Rays a pretty good glimpse of what that can be like.
In Friday's 8-3 win over the Orioles, he hit a grand slam - and just missed a solo homer that was replay reversed into a double - as part of a three hit night. In 60 games since his late-June return, Ramos is hitting .262 with 10 homers, 30 RBIs and a .735 OPS.
"It's taken a little bit of time for him to get his timing,'' manager Kevin Cash said. "He's kind of had the rollercoaster here a little bit. But as of late you can see the impact that he could have at the plate for us.
"A lot of excitement for the next couple days to finish strong for him, and then going in (to next season) knowing that we've got a force behind the plate with the bat.''
Ramos, 30, said he is excited by the possibilities, especially knowing he will have a normal off-season of just baseball workouts.
"I feel excited for this year to come back, and I feel 100 percent,'' he said. "Ill have a good off-season, I'll have time to work hard. ... Next year is going to be a good year.''
Ramos showed that potential in 2016 with Washington, hitting .307 with 22 homers, 80 RBIs and an .850 OPS, but his late-season injury knocked him from being the top catcher on the free-agent market to taking a two-year, $12.5-million deal (plus incentives) from the Rays.
Cash said they are excited to see what a fully healthy Ramos can do.
"I think it's all about his timing,'' Cash said. "You work so hard like he did to rehab the injury getting back and then having to get into baseball shape. And somewhere you've got to find your timing at the plate. You don't flip the switch and it happens.''