The Angels announced tonight that they have non-tendered left-handed reliever Cesar Ramos. The move comes as something of a surprise, considering Ramos’ reasonable $1.7MM projected salary and strong results out of the Halos’ bullpen in 2015. Ramos will join a class of free-agent left-handed relievers that is fronted by Tony Sipp and Antonio Bastardo.
Ramos, 31, logged a 2.75 ERA with 7.4 K/9, 2.5 BB/9 and a 47.1 percent ground-ball rate in 52 1/3 innings with the Angels in 2015. That translated to a sound 3.02 FIP, although SIERA (3.56) and xFIP (3.79) were a bit less bullish on Ramos due to a lack of strikeouts and a perhaps unsustainable 4.4 percent homer-to-flyball rate. MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez wrote recently that Ramos was viewed as a non-tender candidate because he also typically worked in low-leverage situations — often in mop-up duty.
Ramos didn’t dominate lefties, but same-handed batters weren’t able to show any semblance of power against him, batting .274/.346/.316 in 109 plate appearances. He held his own against right-handed pitching as well, yielding a .284/.324/.382 batting line in 112 PAs. Certainly, Ramos wasn’t an overpowering bullpen arm, but he has a track record of solid performance, having worked to a 3.49 ERA with 7.2 K/9 against 3.6 BB/9 across the past five seasons/276 innings.
With just over five years of service time, Ramos has only one year of club control remaining, so any team that signs him won’t receive the benefit of multiple years of control. Neverthelss, he’s a seemingly useful bullpen piece that should find his way into a big league bullpen in 2016.