Seattle Mariners: Erasmo Ramírez, Nick Vincent elect free agency
By Ty Gonzalez
The writing was seemingly on the wall, but two of the Mariners’ more prominent pitchers have officially elected free agency.
Nick Vincent and Erasmo Ramírez were both headed for a pay raise in arbitration, one Seattle likely could not afford. The bullpen has now thinned out quite a bit, with David Phelps, Adam Warren, and Zach Duke also hitting the open market earlier this week. Jerry Dipoto and co. will have their work cut out for them in rebuilding this bullpen, which they’ve successfully done from time-to-time since 2015.
Ramírez, who returned to the Mariners in a swap for Steve Cishek, dealt with shoulder issues for the majority of the 2018 season. When he did get on the field, it was in a starter’s role, and Ramírez greatly struggled. Seattle may have mismanaged Ramírez, forcing him to start when the most successful point in his career came from his time as a reliever in Tampa Bay. Either way, it wasn’t working out for him, and the Mariners weren’t paying his projected salary increase of $4.2 million.
Unlike Ramírez, Vincent had a relatively productive tenure in Seattle. In 2017, Vincent was nearly a two-win pitcher, which is pretty impressive for someone in more of a setup or seventh inning role. The Mariners tried to expand on his role in the bullpen this season, even experimenting with him as an “opener.” Vincent dealt with a groin strain that held him out for nearly a month, and the 32-year-old never found consistency as the season dwindled.
The Mariners expect Sam Tuivailala and Juan Nicasio to assume bigger roles in 2019, making Vincent fairly expendable to them. It’s no secret that Seattle will be working with a relatively restrictive payroll. With the departures of Vincent and Ramírez, the Mariners have avoided paying roughly $8 million to two players they don’t necessarily need.
As of today, free agency has officially kicked off and players can sign with whichever team they wish. Given that Jerry Dipoto has historically been the MLB’s most active general manager, it shouldn’t be long before the Mariners make their first big move of the offseason. In that case, be sure to check back in with us at SoDo Mojo for the latest news and analysis of the 2018-19 Mariners Hot Stove season!