Are the Minnesota Twins interested in Cesar Ramos?
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The Minnesota Twins’ interest in a lefty reliever has been well documented. They shown at least some interest in Antonio Bastardo and took a look at Jake McGee. They’ve signed Fernando Abad and Buddy Boshers to a minor league deal but the Twins should keep adding lefties to compete for the spot. It could be that neither Boshers or Abad turns out. If one of those two does work out, it couldn’t hurt to have a another solid option from the left side. Cesar Ramos would be a good fit for the Twins. There has been no reported interest. In fact, a few weeks ago there was a report that suggested the opposite. Hopefully the Twins have checked in by now or if they weren’t interested, have changed their minds. We certainly think they should.
Ramos checks off two crucial boxes for the Twins: Left handed and relatively cheap. Ramos is not a strikeout specialist but would be an improvement on the Twins bullpen’s league worst strikeout rate.
Ramos was not tendered a contract by the Angels even though he had the best year of his career. We’re at a loss to explain why. He was estimated to earn approximately $1.7 million in arbitration. Not at all a bad price for 0.9 bWAR in 2015. Fangraphs estimates his contributions last year to have been worth $4.8 million. Nevertheless, the Angels didn’t even believe pursuing the arbitration process was worth it. But, as the saying goes, “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.”
Ramos isn’t anything close to trash though. He had a 2.75 ERA, 3.02 FIP, 1.338 WHIP, 0.3 HR/9 and a 2.87 K/BB in 2015. Those numbers may be due for some regression in 2016, especially considering his minuscule 2015 HR/FB ratio, but Ramos has averaged a 3.70 ERA/3.78 FIP over his career. Ramos does have an edge against lefties but isn’t a LOOGY. He faced more righties than lefties in 2015. Ramos has started as recently as 2014 but should stay as a reliever. His ERA is nearly a full run lower as reliever and his FIP is more than a full run lower (4.80 FIP to 3.62 FIP).
Ramos will get a major league deal. Fellow lefty, Oliver Perez, signed for $7 million over 2 seasons. Perez and Ramos are comparable relievers. Perez has a better K/9 but Ramos had better overall results in 2015. Both have similar WAR value out of the ‘pen. Ramos shouldn’t command any more than what Perez received. More likely, he’ll get a fair bit less. The stigma of his non-tender hurts his earning potential.
A two year deal worth in the $5-6 million range sounds about right. Think of it this way, he could take over Brian Duensing‘s role and do it more effectively—for the about the same cost. In an inflated reliever market, Ramos seems to be flying under the radar. The Twins should take advantage.