Photo: Jon Wells
Erasmo José Ramírez Olivera
Height: 5'10" Weight: 215
Bats/Throws: Right / Right
Born: 05/02/1990 in Rivas, Nicaragua
Acquired: In trade from the Tampa Bay Rays, for Steve Cishek (07/28/2017)
MLB Debut: 04/09/2012
Free Agent after: 2019 season
The ripple effect from Erasmo Ramírez trades is fun to look at. The 2009 Mariners Minor League Pitcher of the Year, Ramírez broke in with the M's in 2012 and was a serviceable if not remarkable back-end starter and long reliever for a couple of years before being dealt to Tampa Bay in 2015. The return for Seattle on that deal was pitcher Mike Montgomery, an impressive southpaw that we saw as a future star but who struggled with inconsistency and bounced between starting and relieving. Montgomery was then shipped off to the Cubs in July of 2016 in exchange for Daniel Vogelbach. Fast-forward to last season, when the Mariners' pitching staff resembled a post-op ward in a MASH unit and GM Jerry Dipoto was frantically wheeling and dealing to get enough arms on staff to finish out the schedule, and free-agent-to-be reliever Steve Cishek was traded to the Rays for...Erasmo Ramírez. So, Ramírez became Montgomery became Vogelbach, and Cishek (who came to the M's a free agent) became Ramírez; or you could factor the equation and reduce it to Steve Cishek => Daniel Vogelbach, with Erasmo acting as the conduit. What does it mean? Nothing, really, it's just an amusing thought exercise for hot-stove nerds. (Furthering the notion, Montgomery and Cishek are now teammates with the Cubs.)
Ramírez started 2018 as, once again, a back-end starter for the Mariners, until he, once again, found himself on the diabled list after just two starts in April. He clearly wasn't right in those two starts, allowing 14 not-at-all-cheap hits including seven homers in 92⁄3 innings, and was belatedly examined by the medical staff. A strained teres major muscle (shoulder) was disgnosed—this just a few weeks after he was shut down in spring training for a strained latissimus (back)—and he spent the next three-and-a-half months recovering and rehabbing. In four minor-league rehab starts, Ramírez threw 13 innings with a fine 2.77 ERA and stellar 0.91 WHIP, walking two and strinking out 16. He'll be activated from the DL on August 12th to start for Seattle against the Astros.
Ramírez has had a variety of injuries over his career, but when healthy has been moderately effective at the big-league level, consistently putting up ERAs in the 3.75-4.50 range since leaving Seattle the first time in 2015. He can be expected to go five or six innings at best, and may be better suited to a long relief role than a starting one. For now, though, he will take Felix Hernández's spot in the rotation, inviting plenty of scrutiny from us in the peanut gallery. Will a serviceably mediocre Erasmo Ramírez be better than fading former-ace Felix Hernández? We shall see.