Rays Acquire Erasmo Ramirez
The Rays have added right-handed pitcher Erasmo Ramirez from the Mariners in exchange for left-handed pitcher Mike Montgomery.
Ramirez was available for three reasons: 1) he cannot be optioned to the minors without passing through waivers; 2) his expected value is low; and 3) he squandered his last few auditions. To wit, he’s coming off a season in which he posted a 5.26 ERA, a sub-2.00 strikeout-to-walk rate, and a home-run-allowed rate exceeding 1.5 per nine—all while pitching in an offensive-restrictive ballpark. Lovely.
Nonetheless, there is some stuff to like about Ramirez, who is short and stocky with a face that resembles Felix Hernandez. For instance, his fastball-changeup combination can be effective when located. Ramirez’s fastball sits in the low-90s and at times shows some arm-side movement. Meanwhile, his changeup is unquestionably his best pitch: it sinks and tails and is sold well with good arm action. Alas, the rest of Ramirez’s arsenal is less impressive, and neither his slider nor his curveball grade as average offerings. It’s no surprise then that last season more than half his 13 home-runs allowed came on breaking balls.
Ramirez’s upside is that of a back-end starter, and he figures to start the season in the rotation before sliding to the bullpen. The smart money would be on him filling in as the long reliever, but the Rays could see if he can join Alex Torres and Brad Boxberger as better-than-expected fastball-changeup relievers. It’s worth a shot.
Montgomery’s departure means Jake Odorizzi is the lone player from the James Shields trade who remains on the Rays’ 40-man roster. He never pitched in the majors for the Rays.