The plan was to do this series pretty regularly over the last couple of weeks, but the playoffs are a bit distracting. Now that they are unfortunately over, let’s dive back into our Exit Interviews for players who played with the big-league team and are still in the organization.
6.1 innings, 17.05 ERA, 5.69 FIP, 18.4% K-rate, 21.1% BB-rate, -0.1 fWAR
2018: It was hardly the season Ramirez was looking for after appearing in 101 games with the Braves the previous two years with a 3.30 ERA. His velocity was down out of the gate and he allowed three runs in his first two games. After three scoreless games had the Braves hoping Ramirez was back on track, Ramirez got blasted for five runs in the infamous Wrigley Field game on April 14. He then gave up four more runs on April 17 and hit the DL soon after with shoulder issues. He pitched once in September for Gwinnett, but suffered a setback and his season came to a close.
Contract Details: Age-29 when 2019 opens. Ramirez will be arbitration for the first time and as a Super 2 player, he will be eligible four times. MLB Trade Rumors‘ recent arbitration projections has Ramirez at $700,000 for 2019, a minimum raise over his 2018 salary. He is out of options.
Previewing 2019: While some may argue that Ramirez could still be an asset based on his previous production, many others had little confidence that Ramirez was going to be helpful for the Braves this season. In fact, back in March, Walk-Off Walk, our blog, and Outfield Fly Rule published the “2018 Atlanta Baseball Preview.” I randomly was assigned Ramirez to profile and I ended the blurb with the following:
2018 is a make-or-break season for Ramirez…the advanced stats tell us to expect regression. But as any good Facebook comment section for baseball will tell you, players play the game – not computers. Ramirez will try to prove that in 2018.
Of course, that was under the assumption that Ramirez would stay healthy which obviously didn’t happened. Regardless, the reason why there was a disconnect between those looking at his ERA (3.19) and FIP (4.88) in 2017 was the latter group saw a pedestrian walk rate and too many homers surrendered. It was hard to believe Ramirez was due for continued success with such a thin margin of error.
The Braves will almost certainly non-tender Ramirez this off-season and that has little to do with his pending salary. The Braves have a 40-man crunch and players like Ramirez simply don’t provide enough value. The right-hander will seek out a spot on another team, likely via a minor league deal with an invite to spring training. He was a suitable player the rebuilding Braves, but it’s time to move on.
Did you know? In the aforementioned game at Wrigley Field on April 14 in which the Braves blew a five-run lead in the miserably cold and rainy conditions against the Cubs, Ramirez was one strike away from getting out of the mess with minimal damage three times. That includes his 3-2 delivering that Javier Baez doubled on, driving in three. That tied up the game. Sam Freeman proceeding to walk three consecutive batters to score two runs before Peter Moylan’s wild pitch plated the ninth run of the inning.