The Angels announced today that righty J.C. Ramirez has been diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament, as MLB.com’s Maria Guardado was among those to report (Twitter link). His doctors have recommended that he undergo Tommy John surgery.
After some struggles with forearm tightness to open the year, following an offseason of stem-cell treatment for a partial UCL tear, this news isn’t exactly shocking. Still, it’s a disappointing development for a player who had been such a bright spot in 2017.
Ramirez, 29, had found little success in the majors until he threw well in a relief role down the stretch for the Angels in 2016. Still, nothing jumped off the page to foretell future success, with the exception of a healthy 54.9% groundball rate on the season.
Then came a 2017 campaign in which an injury-plagued Halos’ staff was desperate for innings. Ramirez ended up making 24 starts and providing 147 1/3 frames of 4.15 ERA ball. That’s hardly ace-level stuff, and the peripherals (6.4 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, 51.4% GB, 1.28 HR/9) did not exactly excite, but Ramirez certainly provided more than anyone had cause to expect.
While the elbow troubles at season’s end created some obvious cause for trepidation, the Angels decided it was worth the risk to keep Ramirez around. The club tendered the Super-Two-eligible hurler an arb contract and ended up paying him $1.9MM.
If Ramirez ends up going under the knife for a full UCL replacement, he likely won’t be ready to pitch competitively until this time next year (at the soonest). He would likely earn at an identical rate of pay if the team chooses to tender him a contract once again this coming fall.