Mets reliever AJ Ramos has a torn labrum in his right shoulder and will undergo season-ending surgery tomorrow, the team tells reporters (Twitter link via Mike Puma of the New York Post). The right-hander has been out since May 27 with a shoulder injury and was recently said to be weighing surgery.
Ramos, 31, served as the closer for the Marlins for two and a half seasons before the Mets acquired him in a surprising trade last July. New York had already begun selling off veteran pieces, but GM Sandy Alderson explained at the time that the move was made with an eye toward 2018. The Mets didn’t pay a steep price in terms of prospects to acquire Ramos (Merandy Gonzalez and Ricardo Cespedes), given his salary obligations, but they did agree to a $9.225MM salary with Ramos this winter in avoiding arbitration.
That will go down as a mostly sunk cost for the Mets, as Ramos was solid through the month of April but was shelled in May and will finish out the year with a 6.41 ERA in 19 2/3 innings. While he racked up an impressive 22 punchouts in that time, he also issued 15 walks and surrendered three homers before initially landing on the disabled list.
Ramos is a free agent at season’s end, meaning tomorrow’s surgery is likely to end his tenure with the Mets. In all, he pitched just 38 2/3 innings with the team and turned in a 5.59 ERA with a characteristically high strikeout rate (10.9 K/9) against a bloated 6.3 BB/9 mark that was lofty even by Ramos’ standards. He’s never struggled to miss bats, but even at his best, Ramos was often wild, averaging 4.8 walks per nine innings pitched during a largely successful run with the Marlins.
While a solid season with the Mets would’ve primed Ramos for a multi-year deal in free agency, it now seems likely that he’ll have to settle for a one-year pact with a low base and plenty of incentives, if not a minor league deal with an invitation to prove his shoulder’s health in Spring Training next year.
As for the Mets, they’ve been operating without Ramos for three weeks or so anyhow, so his loss won’t change much in the short-term. His season-ending injury, however, does eliminate the possibility of flipping him to a contender at the deadline. The return on Ramos, even if healthy and effective, wouldn’t have been especially high considering that $9.225MM salary, though the Mets could’ve at least saved some cash and/or added a modest prospect or two to the minor league ranks.