(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
One of three relief pitchers acquired by the Mets on December 6, 2011, Ramon Ramirez was signed by the Texas Rangers as an amateur free agent in 1996. He was released by the organization in 1998 but resurfaced five years later when he signed with the Yankees, who then traded him to the Colorado Rockies in 2005. A starting pitcher for most of his minor-league career, Ramirez was moved to the bullpen by Colorado and made his major-league debut in 2006. Since then, he’s also pitched for the Royals, Red Sox, and Giants, putting together a good career thus far. Over 364.1 innings, Ramirez has a 3.16 ERA, 3.63 FIP, and 4.27 xFIP.
The 2011 season was particularly good for Ramirez, as he struck out 23.4% of opposing hitters, his best strikeout performance since 2008. Although his walk rate of 9.2% wasn’t great, the results were excellent. Ramirez’s 2.62 ERA, 2.94 FIP, and 3.47 xFIP on the season were all significantly better than the average National League relief pitcher.
If Ramirez continues to perform out like he has, posting a sub-3.00 ERA in each of the past four seasons, he should be an excellent setup man for Frank Francisco in the Mets’ bullpen this year. Should Francisco miss any time to injury, Ramirez looks to be the most likely candidate to fill the closer’s role. While Ramirez ‘s career splits show he’s most effective against right-handed opponents, he’s not a disaster against left-handed hitters and should be able to get outs in most situations. Ramirez is slated to be a free agent at the end of the season, which means there will undoubtedly be trade rumors involving his name as the trade deadline approaches in July.