Horacio Ramirez, a not at all fond retrospective of his time in a Mariner uniform

DMZ · March 12, 2008 at 8:45 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

The bad deal” December 6th

The Mariners have traded a good 27-year-old pitcher for a mediocre 27-year-old pitcher.

Forget everything else you’re going to hear for a minute. Forget the starter vs reliever designations, years of service, groundball rates, all of it. The M’s traded a pitcher who will be 27 in two weeks for a pitcher who turned 27 two weeks ago in a straight up, one for one deal. It’s a challenge trade, essentially. The M’s chose left-handedness and a designation as a starting pitcher over talent and performance. They swapped a good pitcher for a mediocre one, and none of the issues about rotation vs bullpen can wipe that away.

This is a bad deal. We’re obviously against this in every way, shape, and form. Horacio Ramirez is not the kind of guy you trade arms like Rafael Soriano’s for. Horacio Ramirez is the kind of arm you pick up as a throw-in to a deal or that you sign for a cheap, one year contract as a free agent. Like they were going to do with John Thomson. He’s John Thomson’s left-handed twin.

March 2nd, this gem in the PI Notebook:

Ramirez wasn’t crazy about his control, but only one pitch really bothered him, a 3-2 curve that former Mariner Mike Cameron hit for a single with one out and a man on base. Even so, Ramirez said he called for that pitch himself, shaking Johjima off several times.

“I’d rather throw the wrong pitch, but a pitch I throw with conviction,” Ramirez said. “That makes it right.”

Dave, in the 4/27 game thread:

Jorge De la Rosa was famously once described by Dan Duquette as “the Mexican John Rocker”. He’s been pretty horrible in the majors up until this year, but at age 25, he’s finally showing why his arm used to get scouts pretty excited. He tossed 8 scoreless innings in his last start while throwing strikes and missing bats. He looks like he may be in the beginning stages of a true breakout season.

The Royals acquired him last July in a one for one trade for Tony Graffanino.

Meanwhile, Horacio Ramirez was once described by me as “a pretty crappy pitcher”. Scouts have never liked his arm. He tossed 4 horrible innings in his last start, not throwing any strikes and missing no bats at all. He looks like a AAAA starter who is in the beginning stages of pitching himself into a middle relief role.

The Mariners acquired him last December in a one for one trade for Rafael Soriano.

May 15th, at the 20% mark:

Horacio Ramirez, #4 Starter – Grade: F

He’s been a disaster. He’s struck out zero or one guy in four of his six starts, and like Batista, his success is basically tied to how well the other team does at getting the balls in play to fall in. Consistency is impossible with this kind of pitcher. Much is made about Ramirez’s Home/Road splits, but no one mentions the competition he’s faced in those appearanecs. He got whacked around by the Angels, Red Sox, and Tigers on the road, and shut down the Rangers, Royals, and Yankees at home. The huge splits between Safeco and non-Safeco games will shrink dramatically as the year goes on.

I liked this July 17th note:

Horacio Ramirez threw the Jarrod Washburn Special, putting the ball over the plate against a lousy team in Safeco Field and watching them get themselves out. He did exactly what he should have done – realized he was facing a line-up of talentless hacks and gave them the opportunity to put the bat on the ball, knowing they aren’t good enough to do anything with it. Against this kind of team, it’s the right gameplan. But, as I’m sure regular readers know by now, this is also not any kind of recipe for continued success. If he pitches the same way in Toronto next Sunday, he’s going to get torched. I’m encouraged that we won a game where we started one of the worst pitchers in baseball – I’m not at all encouraged that this was any kind of indicator of Horacio Ramirez’s future performance level.

He didn’t pitch again until the 23rd, in Texas, where he got torched.

September 17th, when he was yanked from the rotation, we offered a retrospective

But for all the things that have gone wrong (and right) this year, it’s clear that the team’s inexplicable faith that Ramirez would be a solid rotation member, their continued belief that he would at any moment become the pitcher they thought they were acquiring, and their failure to have a decent backup plan to go to was one of the greatest reasons the team couldn’t turn a surprisingly successful season into a playoff berth.

And a historical perspective on how amazingly awful Horacio had been.

There’s been no good reason to believe that Horacio Ramirez was, was becoming, or could be a major league starter, and the team’s inability to recognize that he didn’t belong in a major league rotation was so huge as to produce historic, embarrassing results.

And then, later, Dave offered this fact you may not have known:

Did you know that the Mariners have seven pitchers on the roster with an ERA of 10.00 or higher in September? Jeff Weaver, Horacio Ramirez, Eric O’Flaherty, Brandon Morrow, Sean Green, Ryan Rowland-Smith, and John Parrish have formed their own arson squad.

We commented when the M’s decided to get rid of Broussard and retain Horacio:

On the other hand, the M’s decided to keep Horacio Ramirez, apparently believing their own lies that he was just confused and poorly coached last year. You have to wonder what it will take for this organization to realize how to evaluate pitching talent correctly – Horacio Ramirez is a Triple-A arm, and that should be pretty obvious to anyone who watches baseball with even a casual eye. This was obvious last year when the M’s traded for him, and his horrendous year in Seattle didn’t make him any more valuable. That they’re willing to give a replacement level pitcher millions of dollars to try to resurrect some potential he’s never had is just a continuing sign that the Mariners don’t have any better of an idea of what makes a good pitcher now than they did twelve months ago.

And on January 18th, when they signed him to the contract they just voided…

Pick your reason why it’s a bad deal:
– Taking a historically bad pitcher to arbitration after seeing him suck all year.
– The deal itself
– The fact that they’re in this situation at all after bringing HoRam in believing he was potentially a top-of-the-rotation guy despite there being no reason to think that was true


16 Responses to “Horacio Ramirez, a not at all fond retrospective of his time in a Mariner uniform”

  1. whiskeychainsaw on March 12th, 2008 9:03 pm

    I actually thought the Seahawks were going to release former League MVP Shaun Alexander before the M’s release Horatio.

    Guess I missed the over/under on that one.

  2. abender20 on March 12th, 2008 9:06 pm

    Just in case anyone was confused as to the USSM stance on the deal…

    The worst argument I’ve heard is that Soriano had to be traded anyway because of Putz’s presence, so why not for Ho-Ram?

    Looking at what teams pay for a closing role capable player (Kason Gabbard, and two minor leaguers including Engel Beltre in exchange for a little taste of Gagne), you have to wonder what could have been milked out of a desperate team if someone else was pulling the strings.

    Quick note on Beltre – played over the summer for the Spokane Indians and I went to a game while at home. He is special, at least at the short season single a level.

    The management’s lack of ability to evaluate talent, or their mystifying obsession with roles, is exactly why the M’s will have trouble keeping up with the Cali AL west teams.

  3. Some Dude on March 12th, 2008 9:08 pm

    Bravo to this development and vaya con dios Señor Ramierz.

  4. thefin190 on March 12th, 2008 9:51 pm

    2 – I like that perspective about the trade. It seems one of Bill’s many talents is building a bullpen for cheap. He even admits in one interview that you can build a bullpen for cheap but you can’t build a rotation for cheap. If anyone can think of an example to counter that, that’d be awesome. But, what I agree with you with is that fact that since BB can develop good relievers for cheap, and other teams sometimes don’t have that same ability. He should’ve used the demand for relievers in his advantage and trade with some other team that has the ability to develop starters but not relievers, if that’s even possible. Trading Soriano away wouldn’t have been so terrible if the return was decent and helped the team, since the bullpen seemed to be in fine shape with or without him. I like how you pointed out how the Rangers got quite a decent return for Gagne, who ended up imploding in Boston. The Rangers took advantage of that demand, and I think Dave is correct when he says the Rangers will be better than alot of people predict to be.

  5. milendriel on March 12th, 2008 10:55 pm

    4- I think a rotation can be built cheaply, but it takes time to develop two or three good pitchers. A couple guys will probably be FA’s, but the 5th starter should be super cheap–either a replacement level guy or an interesting minor-league guy with a little upside acquired via promotion or trade.

    A bullpen, on the other hand, should be fairly easy to construct year-to-year. Guys who can’t cut it as starters and live arms with limited repertoires will do. It’s also possible to take advantage of a club’s lack of patience with a relief pitcher’s small sample of innings pitched and get a guy like Heath Bell.

  6. RollingWave on March 13th, 2008 1:28 am

    This trade was in many respect on par if not worse then the nearly franchise killing trade of Jason Varitek / Derek Lowe for Heathcliff Slocumb deal.

    1. Slocumb was at least good once upton a time (in a non-fluke fashion)

    2. Varitek and Lowe at least hadn’t prove themself to be that good at the time in the majors.

    the only good thing you can say about this trade is that at least Soriano while good. is not a true corner stone player like Varitek and Lowe ended up to be.

    (personally thinking about both of these trade at the same time make me want to barf… and i’m not even the biggest M’s fan out there)

    As for relievers. your right that you can build a bullpen on the fly and be effective. but there are a few guys that you KNOW can be pretty reliable (or at least have a much much better chance of being reliable) Soriano is one of those guys. and it is about spotting talent too. not just randoming throwing junks together and hope it sticks. you can throw 20 Horacio Rameriez and all of them will suck in the bullpen.

    as for the Rangers. they’re actually going in the right direction. (which should scare M fans cause that makes them the only team going in the wrong direction and head by a moron in the division) but for this year i think the prediction on them sucking is pretty legit. their good players can’t stay healthy (Bradely , Hamilton , Blalock) their promising players are still establishing themself. and their established players are….. kinda like Horicio Ramirez.

  7. rea on March 13th, 2008 4:38 am

    Did they make the Soriano trade for off-fieled reasons? If so, what were they?

    Last fall, Mariners president Chuck Armstrong hinted the Ramirez-for-Soriano trade wasn’t Bavasi’s fault, that it happened for more than just baseball reasons.

    Armstrong said last Sept. 27, without naming specific off-field incidents, that “a lot of things went on that compelled us to make that move” of Soriano for whatever the Mariners could get.

  8. rea on March 13th, 2008 4:39 am

    Well, I attempted to link something, there, but it didn’t work.

  9. eternal on March 13th, 2008 7:24 am

    I’m wondering. Do you think Mel S is helping the team to better understand how to eval a pitcher?

  10. abender20 on March 13th, 2008 8:10 am

    9 – could be. Although it doesn’t take a baseball lifer to determine that a soft throwing lefty with poor command and no ability to miss bats should not be receiving upwards of 4 million dollars.

  11. DEO on March 13th, 2008 8:27 am

    4 – The Oakland A’s built a cheap rotation in 2001-2003, led by Hudson, Zito and Mulder.

    The Twins built a fairly cheap rotation in 2004 (winning 92 games). The surrounded the expensive Radke with Carlos Silva, Kyle Lohse and some guy named Santana.

    The late 90’s Indians also did it relatively cheaply (again typically having one high priced starter surrounded by good, cheap young guys.

    There are lots of examples.

  12. hiRes on March 13th, 2008 8:28 am

    4- If BB truly believes you can build a pen cheaply, and that TOTR pitchers come dear, fairly conventional wisdom, then why oh why does he keep Morrow in the pen?

    This guy would be much better off if he was able to develop in Tacoma for another year instead of being stuck in situational hell.

    So, I conclude that BB doesn’t truly ascribe to conventional wisdom in this case.

  13. Jay R. on March 13th, 2008 8:31 am

    It only cost them $458,000. Remember that next time you are buying a $60 ticket, $25 hat or $8 beer at Safeco. If you can stomach darkening its door any time in the near future. Personally, that won’t be until the clowns they have running the front office are a distant memory.

  14. scott19 on March 13th, 2008 11:16 am

    If Dickey, as a Rule 5 guy, ends up posting anything even slightly resembling respectable numbers this season, he’ll still end up being a better value than HoRam’s second cup of Spring coffee was.

  15. jlc on March 13th, 2008 12:10 pm

    I hate that veiled, “there was something going on we can’t tell you about,” crap. Either say what was wrong or keep your mouth shut and don’t do character assasination by implication.

  16. BigJared on March 13th, 2008 1:09 pm

    “I’d rather throw the wrong pitch, but a pitch I throw with conviction,” Ramirez said. “That makes it right.”

    A Rumsfeld-esque soundbite if ever one existed.

    That is a golden nugget I will forever charish when I think of the man affectionately known as ‘HoRam’. You can totally suck, but if you do it with conviction that makes it all good.

    Using this newfound optimism I look back at the some of last year’s lowlights and see new things……….

    After another 0-4 with 3 K’s, 1 GIDP and 8 LOB night Richie can say, “I swung and missed with conviction so that makes them good swings.”

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