The Indians announced today that they’ve signed right-handed relievers Neil Ramirez and Evan Marshall to minor league contracts with invitations to Major League Spring Training. Cleveland also confirmed its previously reported signing of veteran outfielder Brandon Barnes to the same type of contract.
Ramirez, 29 in May, split the 2017 seasons between the Giants and Mets, totaling 31 1/3 innings at the big league level. The former Rangers/Cubs prospect has long showed the ability to miss bats at the big league level and did so once again in 2017 (12.6 K/9), but he’s also been an extreme fly-ball pitcher with control issues and a susceptibility to home runs. Ramirez finished up the 2017 campaign with a 7.18 ERA and six homers allowed in those 31 1/3 frames. In 113 total innings at the MLB level, he’s worked to a 4.22 ERA but also averaged 4.9 walks per nine innings pitched.
Marshall looked like a long-term cog in the D-backs’ bullpen with a brilliant 2014 debut, tossing 49 1/3 innings with a 2.74 ERA with 9.9 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 and a 60.7 percent ground-ball rate with a fastball that averaged 93.9 mph. However, Marshall spent much of the 2015 season in Triple-A and suffered a frightening skull fracture when he was hit by a comebacker in September shortly after returning to the Majors.
His 2016-17 seasons produced middling results, and he’s posted an overall 7.93 ERA in 36 1/3 innings with a 20-to-18 K/BB ratio. Marshall spent the 2017 campaign with the Mariners but was limited to 7 2/3 innings, partially due to a hamstring injury, before being outrighted off the 40-man roster and electing minor league free agency at season’s end.