Last night, around 7:30 PM local time, Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos was abducted by four men carrying guns from his mother’s home in Valencia, Venezuela. The Rookie of the Year candidate was back in the country of his birth to play Winter Ball for the Tigres de Aragua BBC.

Communication with the kidnappers has yet to be established.

This tragedy could have implications for future participation in winter baseball. According to Enrique Brito, a longtime official in the Venezuelan winter league who is close with Ramos’s family:

I don’t know what’s going to happen now. It’s going to be bad for the culture, for the league, for everything. Wilson is one of the best players that we had. It’s bad. It’s real bad, for all Venezuelan people and fans. We are all shocked.

Abductions of high profile or wealthy targets is a relatively common practice among criminals in South and Central America. The ugly phenomenon has touched the baseball world before, but prior to the abduction of Ramos, it had yet to result in the capture of an actual player.

The worst incident to date occurred in 2008, when the brother of Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Henry Blanco was kidnapped and killed. In 2009, Texas Rangers catcher Yorvit Torrealba paid a ransom to get his son back, and pitcher Victor Zambrano’s mother was rescued in a raid the very same year.

Kevin Goldstein, from Baseball Prospectus shares his thoughts and offers a sentiment with which I hope we can all agree.

It’s easy for us to say that they are rich baseball players and that they should live permanently in the United States under relative safety. It’s easy for us because we are not from there. During my time in baseball, I’ve made several friends there, and the one thing I can say about them, universally, is that they love Venezuela. Many players are now permanent residents of the United States, but they are still targets for crime, as many members of their extended family remain in the country.

There is no answer here, and maybe not even a point, other than baseball is a wonderful fantasy world, and we hope Ramos can return to it, both quickly, and safely.

Obviously, our thoughts are with Ramos and his family, as we hope for his safe and quick return.

And The Rest

The outrageous contract that the Phillies were set to pay Ryan Madson maybe wasn’t quite as sure of a thing as we first assumed.

Jorge Posada’s future remains uncertain, but one thing is for sure: he won’t be playing for the New York Yankees again.

Yesterday, I asked if the Blue Jays would be better off trading Jose Bautista. People had opinions about that.

Projecting the Prince.

Free agent shortstop Jose Reyes met with representatives of the Marlins yesterday in Miami.

Something tells me he’d get along well with the city:

Hey look, it’s another Yu Darvish scouting report.

Negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement between MLB owners and player has taken a big step forward. An agreement is in sight.

A very reasonable batch of picks for the Cy Young Award.

Jim Breen of FanGraphs explains why hard slotting would be a bad thing for baseball.

Yeah, you keep believing that, Jimmy Rollins. You’re almost as delusional as the President of the Miami Marlins.

Things for the Mets could get worse before they get better.

The San Diego Padres have new uniforms and logos.

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Matt Kemp are working on an extension, but what exactly is going to happen before the team gets sold?

Ranking the prospect rankers.

Finally, check out The Score’s new show The Project. In the premier episode, the two hosts hunt down Otis Nixon and try to get him to reenact the bunt that cost the Atlanta Braves the 1992 World Series.

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