Red Sox Rumors: RHP Erasmo Ramirez is nearing minor league deal

The Boston Red Sox are rumored to be on the verge of signing right-handed pitcher Erasmo Ramirez to a minor league deal. How does he fit in?

It appears the Boston Red Sox are on the verge of beefing up their pitching staff, although it’s not one of the high-profile names dominating the rumor mill that they currently have their eye on.

According to MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez, the Red Sox are nearing a minor league deal with right-handed pitcher Erasmo Ramirez.

The 28-year old is coming off the worst season of his career with the Seattle Mariners. He went 2-4 with a 6.50 ERA and 1.40 WHIP in 10 starts.

Ramirez has had a relatively underwhelming career but was a serviceable member of the Tampa Bay Rays rotation with a sub-4.00 ERA in 2015 and 2016. That’s solid enough for a back of the rotation role and he’s proven he can do it in the AL East.

The environment here in Boston seems to suit him. Ramirez is 3-1 with a 2.05 ERA in 11 career appearances (two starts) at Fenway Park. He also has a solid career ERA against the Rays (1.99), Orioles (2.89), Yankees (3.65), and Blue Jays (4.07).

The top four of the Red Sox rotation is set with Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, and Nathan Eovaldi. That leaves the No. 5 spot up for grabs between Steven Wright, Brian Johnson, and Hector Velazquez. A minor league deal doesn’t necessarily mean Ramirez will be added to the 40-man roster but he has a chance to work his way into the mix with an impressive camp this spring.

While he was strictly utilized as a starter in his year and a half with the Mariners, Ramirez has plenty of experience working out of the bullpen. 100 of his 192 major league appearances have come in relief. He owns a 4.04 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and 6.3 K/9 in 149 1/3 innings as a reliever.

He’s obviously not a candidate to take over as the closer in the event Craig Kimbrel bolts in free agency. However, if the Red Sox fail to sign any of the second and third-tier closer options on the market they may be forced to use Matt Barnes or Ryan Brasier in that role. That would bump everyone up in the bullpen hierarchy, creating a void in the earlier innings that Ramirez could conceivably fill if he doesn’t latch on as a starter.

Ramirez may be a long shot to make the major league roster if a deal is finalized. They say you can never have too much pitching depth though so he’s another arm to potentially keep an eye on this spring.