The Brewers have claimed righty Neil Ramirez off waivers from the Cubs, according to SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (via Twitter). Ramirez, who just turned 27, had been designated for assignment by Chicago.
Milwaukee is obviously in quite a different position than their division rivals. The rebuilding organization surely felt more willing to take a shot on a potentially impactful reliever who has struggled this year.
Ramirez, who was acquired as part of the 2013 Matt Garza deal, racked up 57 2/3 innings of 1.87 ERA pitching over 2014-15. He posted an impressive 10.6 K/9 against 3.6 BB/9 in that span.
Of course, Ramirez also missed significant time last year with shoulder issues, and he hasn’t been himself thus far in 2016. While he is still running up a double-digit K rate, Ramirez is very nearly doing the same with free passes and has permitted four earned runs in 7 2/3 innings. The righty has lost over 2.5 mph on his average fastball since his debut season, though his swinging strike rate and zone percentage remain at normal levels.
Milwaukee will surely hope that Ramirez just needs to battle through a rough stretch. If he can right the ship, he’d provide the organization with another late-inning power arm. There’s contractual upside, too: Ramirez entered the year with 1.158 years of service, meaning he comes with four more years of control. Of course, that also makes him a likely Super Two candidate this winter.