By swapping Steve Cishek for starting/relief pitcher Erasmo Ramirez, Mariners’ general manager Jerry Dipoto has added needed depth and versatility to the Mariners pitching staff.
Ramirez has been alright coming out the Rays bullpen, but not great. Currently he’s pitching 4.80/4.18/4.13 (ERA/FIP/xFIP) in 69.1 innings pitched; those numbers aren’t very encouraging. What is encouraging (however) is his increase in strike outs this season; Ramirez is currently striking out 7.14 battere per nine innings, while also limiting the number of walks he’s given up, 2.08 per nine. By striking out more batters than he has at any point in his career, the 27-year old is showing off more of his potential.
The young reliever has increased his strikeout rate by generating more swings at pitches inside the strike zone, while seeing a slight decrease in contact on pitches inside the zone as well. Ramirez is seeing more swings at pitches in the zone because he’s living on the low and inside corner of the plate to right handed batters, low and away to lefties.
While Ramirez has talent, and is striking out more batters, the most exciting part about bringing him back to Seattle is his versatility as a long reliever or spot starter. During his first stint with the M’s — from 2012 to 2014 — Ramirez was usually used as a starter, it wasn’t until he was traded to Tampa that he made the nearly full time transition to the pen.
It’ll be nice to having a long-reliver back in the bullpen, which will give manager Scott Servais an option to go to when (not if) a starter melts down and can’t get out of the early innings. Another piece of good news, is that Ramirez is under contract until 2019; where as Cishek is a free agent at the end of this season.
This is a smart move that strengthens the bullpen for this season, while giving the Mariners more options for starting pitching in the next couple of seasons.