Mariners Trade RHP Erasmo Ramirez to Tampa Bay


The Seattle Mariners originally signed Erasmo Ramirez as an amateur free agent out of Nicaragua in 2007. Once considered one of the top young arms in the Mariners’ system, Ramirez has fallen on hard times the past two seasons. Ramirez made his debut with the M’s back in April of 2012 at the tender age of 21. Now 24, Ramirez entered camp hoping to land the final spot in the Mariners’ starting rotation. However, after Taijuan Walker lit up in Arizona, it was never much of a competition.

Erasmo Ramirez posted his best numbers as a Mariner during his rookie campaign in 2012. After beginning the season in the M’s bullpen, Ramirez successfully transitioned to the starting rotation. The right-hander finished the year with a 1-3 record, and registered an impressive 3.36 ERA across 59.0 innings of work. Ramirez recorded 7.3 strikeouts per 9 innings, and walked just 1.8 batters per 9 innings. His strikeout to walk ratio of 4.0 was tops on the team among starting pitchers. While he struggled with consistency at times, it was abundantly clear Ramirez had a very bright future in front of him in a Mariners’ uniform.

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Unfortunately for the Mariners, Erasmo Ramirez has regressed significantly in each of the last two seasons. Ramirez has made 27 starts for the Mariners since the beginning of the 2013 season, and for the most part, he has failed to impress. He has gone 6-9 with a 5.12 ERA across 147.2 innings pitched. His strikeout totals have stayed relatively consistent, as he has struck out 7.1 hitters per 9 innings. However, the command he showcased in 2012 has vanished. He has issued 3.7 free passes per 9 innings, and he has allowed 1.497 walks/hits per inning over his last 27 outings. While not horrible, his 1.97 strikeout to walk ratio leaves plenty to be desired. Based on Ramirez’s performance over the past two seasons, 2012 appears to have been a cruel mirage.

I have been hoping Jack Zduriencik would move Erasmo Ramirez for weeks. Ramirez bounced back and forth between Seattle and Tacoma each of the last three years, and he had run out of minor league options. At just 24-years-old, it seemed unlikely he would pass through waivers unclaimed. In essence, this deal eliminates the worry that a division rival would steal a talented young arm for free.

Feb 27, 2015; Port Charlotte, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Mike Montgomery (31) poses for a photo during photo day at Charlotte Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Much like Erasmo Ramirez, Mike Montgomery is a former top prospect that has failed to live up to the hype. Prior to the start of the 2011 season, the southpaw was listed by Baseball America as the 19th best prospect in baseball. The Kansas City Royals selected Montgomery in the first round of the 2008 draft. The Rays acquired Montgomery as part of the James Shields trade in 2012.

The Santa Clara, CA product obliterated hitters in rookie ball, single-A, and high-A. However, he has been hit hard in double-A or triple-A. Montgomery spent the 2014 season with the Rays triple-A affiliate in Durham. The 25-year-old went 10-5 with a 4.29 ERA across 126.0 innings with the Bulls. He struck out 7 hitters per 9 innings, and walked 3.4. Montgomery posted a 2.06 strikeout to walk ratio. The opposition tallied 1.310 walks/hits per inning, and Montgomery surrendered 0.6 home runs per 9 innings.

There is still a glimmer of hope with Mike Montgomery, as he has performed admirably with Tampa Bay this spring. The Rays tried to convert him to a reliever early in camp, but have since had to utilize Montgomery as a starter due to a string of injuries. Montgomery has allowed just 2 earned runs across 9 innings pitched in Grapefruit League action. He has struck out 6, and walked 2. Montgomery is unlikely to make an impact at the Major League level in 2015, and he will most likely spend the season with the Tacoma Rainiers of the Pacific Coast League.

Tonight’s trade is by no means a blockbuster, but it was a sound baseball decision by Jack Zduriencik and his staff. Montgomery is a decent get for the Mariners. The southpaw could develop into a viable pitcher for the M’s one day. Regardless, at least Seattle got something cheap and controllable for Ramirez.

Next: End-y of an Era: Mariners Release Endy Chavez

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