The Mariners have signed lefty Nick Ramirez to a minor league contract, as first reported by Tacoma Rainiers broadcaster Mike Curto (Twitter link). Ramirez wasn’t formally signed until yesterday morning, but he’s already reported to the Rainiers and tossed a scoreless inning out of their bullpen last night.
The 32-year-old Ramirez spent the 2021 season in the Padres organization and logged 20 1/3 innings out of their bullpen — his third straight season with big league experience. He was hit hard in that time, yielding 15 runs (13 earnd) on 23 hits and seven walks with 14 strikeouts. The resulting 5.75 ERA wasn’t much to look at, and Ramirez cleared waivers last September before opting for minor league free agency following the season.
Though he hasn’t had strong results in either 2020 or 2021, Ramirez did toss 79 2/3 innings of 4.07 ERA ball with the 2019 Tigers. He carries a 4.55 ERA in 110 2/3 Major League innings, as well as a 20.4% strikeout rate, a 9.4% walk rate and a solid 46.1% ground-ball rate. Lefties, in particular, have had a hard time with Ramirez, as evidenced by a .234/.314/.333 batting line in 159 plate appearances. Right-handed hitters haven’t had nearly as much trouble, hitting him at a .255/.323/.466 clip in 326 tries.
While Ramirez was a fourth-round pick of the Brewers back in 2011, this is still only his sixth season as a pitcher. He spent the first five-plus seasons of his professional career as a first baseman before Milwaukee moved him to the mound in 2017. Ramirez carries a 2.96 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A, where he’s posted a combined 20.7% strikeout rate and an 8.8% walk rate.
Anthony Misiewicz and Justus Sheffield are the only two lefties currently in Seattle’s big league bullpen, though the team also has on the 40-man roster Nick Margevicius but down in Tacoma. Other recognizable southpaws on the Rainiers’ roster (but not on the Mariners’ 40-man) include Tommy Milone, Andrew Albers, Roenis Elias and Kyle Bird. Ramirez will give them some additional depth in that regard, and given that he’s pitched in the Majors each season from 2019-21, a strong showing performance could put him on the map for a fourth big league look.