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Would Edwar Ramirez Interest the Rays?

I tweeted it; Dave Cameron did too. Bobr fanshot'd it and sternfan1 hated it. I'm willing to bet when the news broke that most of us thought of it...the Rays should look at Edwar Ramirez.

Over the weekend, the Yankeesdesignated the 28-year-old righty for assignment, making room for former Rays' target, Chan Ho Park. To the casual Rays fan, Ramirez is that skinny pitcher on the Yankees with funny glasses.

In his 98.1 innings for New York, Ramirez has been a replacement level reliever. His career ERA is 5.22 and his fielding independent pitching (FIP) is 5.19. The reason he has been replacement level is because he struggles with walks and home runs. For his career, he owns a walks per nine innings (BB/9) of 5.13 and a home runs per nine innings (HR/9) of 1.76. For most pitchers, this is a request to play for the Newark Bears.

The walks are a concern, but the home run rate does raise some "bad luck" questions. A fly-ball pitcher (48.7% FB career), his home run-to-fly ball ratio (HR/FB) is 14.8%. A quick estimate says that number should be closer to 11%.

Despite his relatively average velocity (89.3 MPH fastball), Edwar boasts a career strikeouts per nine innings (K/9) of 10.62. This has kept employed and what will ultimately land him his next job.

Ramirez does most of his work with that average fastball and a change-up. He throws both pitches a combined 91% of the time; however, it is the change-up that is behind the elevated strikeout rates.

Since 2008, Ramirez's change-up has represented 36.1% of his pitches thrown. He has induced a swing and a miss with that pitch over 20% of the time. It's not a perfect comparison, but over the same time period, James Shields' change-up has 19.4% whiffs.

In the fanshot, Ryan Glass compared Ramirez to our own Dan Wheeler. Both right-handers have done well when facing batters of the same handiness.

Here is the side-by-side comparison against righties.






















Note: xFIP, or expected fielding independent pitching, is used to show both pitchers with normalized home run rates.

Overall, Wheeler's numbers are slightly better, but that comes with a cost.

Wheeler is the second highest paid pitcher on the Rays with a 2010 salary of $3.5 million dollars. Ramirez is not yet arbitration eligible and would cost around the league minimum. This may not be important now since Wheeler is expected to stick around through this season, but after 2010 it might. Wheeler is owed $4 million dollars next season, but the Rays are likely to buy him out at $1 million dollars. Ramirez would fit perfectly as a cheap replacement.

Ultimately none of this really matters because A) he could be claimed by a team before the Rays, and/or B) the Rays may not want Ramirez at all. That said, a cheap, cost controlled, strikeout pitcher with swing and miss ability, and minor league options is usually something the Rays are interested in.  

Ed. Note: This is probably much to do about nothing, but I'm not interested in writing about baseball players golfing or ice cream socials. Plus I get to use a pic of Ramirez in goggles.