TODAY: Ramirez and fellow righty Nick Vincent have each been outrighted after clearing waivers. Both players have elected free agency.
The 32-year-old Vincent has appeared in over sixty contests in each of the past three seasons with Seattle. He owns a cumulative 3.62 ERA with 8.5 K/9 against 2.1 BB/9. Though Vincent still seems likely to spend plenty of time in a major-league pen in 2019, his projected $3.5MM arbitration salary was obviously deemed too steep.
YESTERDAY, 8:34pm: Morosi now tweets that Ramirez is indeed already going through the waiver process.
8:24pm: Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez is “likely” to be removed from the Mariners’ 40-man roster either via waiver claim or by clearing outright waivers and electing free agency, reports MLB.com’s Jon Morosi (on Twitter). That would suggest that Ramirez, 28, has already been placed on outright waivers, as both of those outcomes involve the team attempting to pass him through the waiver process.
Ramirez has split his career to date between the Mariners and Rays organizations, enjoying success at times with both team but struggling mightily in the most recent season. The Nicaraguan-born righty rejoined the Mariners in 2017 after being traded back to Seattle from Tampa Bay and threw quite well for his original club down the stretch. The 2018 campaign, however, was another story entirely. Ramirez was clobbered for a 6.50 ERA in 45 1/3 innings, allowing a stunning 14 home runs in that brief time while working with a diminished strikeout rate.
MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had projected Ramirez to earn $4.4MM via the arbitration process this winter, even spite of those alarming struggles, making him a clear non-tender candidate. Rather than waiting until the non-tender deadline at the end of the current month, it seems the Mariners are opting to remove Ramirez now. If he clears, which seems likely, he’ll elect free agency, and the early outright will have granted him some additional time to explore the open market in search of a new opportunity.
For all of Ramirez’s struggles he’s not far removed at all from being a useful big league arm. In 385 1/3 innings from 2015-17, the righty worked to a 3.97 ERA with 7.0 K/9 against 2.3 BB/9. Ramirez was bothered by a teres major strain in 2018, spending more than three months on the disabled list with that injury, so with a return to health in 2019 he could be an affordable rotation option or long reliever for a new organization.