Dodgers new bullpen addition Nick Ramirez

Getty Dodgers new bullpen addition Nick Ramirez

Ultimately, there was no place for lefty Nick Ramirez in the Yankees bullpen last year, despite a solid season that seemed to reinvigorate what had become a wayward career. The Yankees needed his spot o the 40-man roster for reliever Tanner Tully and designated Ramirez for assignment over the weekend. But the Dodgers stepped in Tuesday and made a deal to acquire Ramirez for cash considerations.

Ramirez had not been particularly good during Spring Training, allowing three home runs in 10.1 innings, but after a solid showing in 2023 in which he was a bullpen stabilizer for a team that badly needed some reliability, it is a surprise he is not still with the team. Ramirez is 34, hardly a Spring chicken, but posted a 2.66 ERA and 1.23 WHIP across 40.2 innings last season.

He will join a Dodgers team looking for bullpen depth after the team released lefty Matt Gage earlier on Tuesday.


SoCal Homecoming for Nick Ramirez

Ramirez is from Anaheim and went to Cal State-Fullerton, so joining the Dodgers is a bit of a homecoming for him. It’s also a chance, at age 34, to put forth one last push in what remains of his career. He first came up with the Tigers in 2019 after having been a fourth-round pick by the Brewers in 2011.

He struggled in three seasons with the Tigers and Padres, going 6-5 with a 4.55 ERA and a 1.383 WHIP, but seemed to find some consistency in 2022 when he spent the entire season as the closer for Triple-A Tacoma in the Seattle organization, where he had a 2.93 ERA and 16 saves in 55 games.

That was when the Yankees brought him on for 2023. Ramirez is a bit of an anomaly—at least he was last year—in that he is a lefty specialist who specializes in getting out righties. He allowed a .308 batting average and a .819 OPS against lefties last season, and a .221 average with a .542 OPS against righties.


Dodgers Need to Fortify Bullpen

The key for Ramirez is his sinker. Here’s how the SB Nation site Pinstripe Alley described the pitch last season:

“The thing about Nick Ramirez’s sinker is that even though it barely clips 90 mph on a good day, it’s an absolute bowling ball. It’s got just 3.7 inches of Induced Vertical Break, i.e., rise, which ranks in the bottom 15 percent of the 190-odd pitchers who have thrown at least 100 sinkers this year.

“In terms of raw movement, that’s more than 30 inches of drop, which isn’t quite as crazy at 89 mph as it is at 99, but it’s enough sheer drop to make hitters miss pitches that they should ordinarily crush at that velocity, particularly in the middle and up in the zone.”

It is hard to say how, or if, Ramirez will fit into the Dodgers plans going forward.

Even at his advanced age, he still has another option and could be sent to the minors. But the bullpen does need reliable veteran help—Dave Roberts used a “bullpen game” already this week—and Ramirez can provide that, if only in small doses.

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