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Mets sign Erasmo Ramírez to minor league contract

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The 29-year-old pitcher will receive a spring training invite to compete for a roster spot.

Seattle Mariners v Texas Rangers Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

The Mets have signed 29-year-old right-handed pitcher Erasmo Ramírez to a minor league deal with a spring training invite, per Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com. Though he spent 2019 with the Red Sox organization, predominantly as a starter in Triple-A, Ramírez has spent most of his big league career split between starting and relieving for the Mariners and Rays.

2019 was forgettable for Ramírez, with 125.1 innings in 24 starts at Pawtucket and just a single, disastrous big league appearance in Boston. His Triple-A numbers weren’t terrible considering the state of that level last year, but a 4.74 ERA and 5.12 FIP won’t turn many heads. On the positive side, his velocity returned to pre-injury levels after he had missed much of 2018 with a shoulder injury. His best seasons came in 2015 through 2017, during which he made 47 starts with Seattle and Tampa, as well as 88 relief appearances, across 385.1 innings with a 3.97 ERA and 4.12 FIP.

The diminutive righty is listed generously at 5’10, but he’s long generated impressive heat for his size. His bread-and-butter has been a sinking fastball around 92 mph that pairs well with his low-80s changeup. Ramírez also has mixed in a slider, curveball, and cutter, learning the latter in his time with the Rays and leaning on it more heavily in recent years. Despite entering what could be his ninth major league season, Ramírez still has a bit of a tweener tag, with his best skill being an ability to reliably go multiple innings, yet an inability to translate that into starting consistently.

Ramírez could provide rotation depth for the Mets, but he is better suited to providing a long relief backup plan if injury befalls Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman, Michael Wacha, Stephen Gonsalves, and the rest of the Mets’ of non-roster invitees.