The New York Mets have acquired reliever AJ Ramos from the Miami Marlins for a pair of prospects: Class A pitcher Merandy Gonzalez and outfielder Ricardo Cespedes. New York is seeking stability in a bullpen that has been a mess since the loss of Jeurys Familia, who served a domestic violence suspension at the start of the season and then got hurt. The Mets have blown 13 of 37 save opportunities and rank 26th in the major leagues in bullpen ERA at 4.82.

Ramos, a 30-year-old right-hander, was an All-Star in 2016 and this year is 2-4 with 20 saves and a 3.63 ERA in 40 appearances for the Marlins. Ramos is a proven closer with 92 saves in the past three years and a career ERA of 2.78. He has a $6.55 million salary and is eligible for free agency after the 2018 season. Mets reliever Addison Reed, closing in Familia’s absence, is eligible for free agency and has been the subject of trade rumors.

The Marlins’ breakup of their bullpen began last week when they traded right-hander David Phelps to Seattle for four prospects, including highly regarded outfielder Brayan Hernandez. Miami is likely to miss the playoffs for the 14th season in a row, the longest drought in the National League.

Gonzalez and Cespedes rank ninth and 22nd, respectively, on the Mets’ midseason top 30 prospects list over at MLB.com. Through a combined 106 innings between two Class-A levels, the 21-year-old Gonzalez has worked to a 1.78 ERA with 7.6 K/9, 1.8 BB/9 and a 41 percent ground-ball rate. MLB.com’s Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo write that his fastball sits around 93 mph but can reach 96-97 mph when needed, and the young righty also has an above-average curveball with an improving changeup. Gonzalez is listed at 6’0″ and 216 pounds, so he’s a bit short for a starter, though that frame is hardly any sort of clear indicator that he’s better suited for a relief role.

The 19-year-old Cespedes has been facing much older competition across short-season Class-A and full-season Class-A ball this year, but he hasn’t fared well at the plate against his more experienced opponents. Through 108 plate appearances — he’s spent a fair bit of time on the minor league DL — Cespedes has batted .255/.283/.294. Ugly numbers aside, Cespedes was inked for a fairly sizable $725K bonus out of the Dominican Republic as a 16-year-old and draws praise from Callis and Mayo for his yet untapped tools.

This move makes a ton of sense for the Mets, as Ramos is signed through next season and, at least on paper, gives the Mets what they need, which is a veteran arm who can replace Reed next season as a strong eighth inning man who can close when needed. But this trade also represents a large risk, as Ramos has been shaky at times due to the amount of baserunners he allows. He currently has a 1.31 WHIP (walks + hits / innings pitched), and had a 1.36 WHIP last season, and has a lifetime mark of 1.23, all incredibly high numbers for a relief pitcher. He does strikeout a ton of batters, with a lifetime mark of 379 career strikeouts against 327.1 innings pitched, which is why he has been so successful in spite of his lack of control at times.

But for a team that has seen many a relief pitcher come undone due to control problems, it is curious that they would choose to bring someone in who already has proven to have the same issues. Plus they give up yet another minor league arm, even if he is one that is a couple of years away. When a team has had as many starting pitching injuries as the Mets have had this year, dipping into their minor league reserve, especially as depleted as the team’s currently is, is a risk. But given their lack of trade options to upgrade their bullpen, the risk could be worth the reward.

Related Posts:

Tags

 
 

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment