If the move to keep AJ Ramos in the Miami Marlins bullpen one by default, or one that will ultimately help the team make the playoffs?
The Marlins were heavy hitters this offseason when they acquired multiple relivers to create a scenario that will aid the team win, much like the model that proved to be so successful for the Cleveland Indians.
It is no secret the Marlins, 79-82 in 2106, did everything they could to sign Kenley Jansen or Aroldis Chapman, throwing more money their way than both the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Yankees. The money wasn’t enough to sway either pitcher, who hard their hearts set on playing in Hollywood and the Big Apple. Miami’s plan “B” was to bring in enough arms to protect leads and help the team make the post season for the first time since 2003.
Although Ramos will open the season as the team’s closer, does it mean he will remain there and will he be on the team at the end of the season?
According to MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro, President of baseball operations Michael Hill has repeatedly stated the team is exploring the market, and if something makes sense, the Marlins may pursue it. If you look at the bullpen, as is, there are six spots secured.
Of course, injuries could change that. But free-agent signees Ziegler, Junichi Tazawa and Dustin McGowan have guaranteed contracts. And Ramos, David Phelps and Barraclough are locks. So that leaves one, maybe two, bullpen spots for several talented candidates, including Nick Wittgren, Jose Urena, Brian Ellington and Austin Brice. Left-hander Hunter Cervenka also could make the Opening Day roster. There also are prospects like Drew Steckenrider and Jarlin Garcia.
It's a complicated situation when you think about it. The Marlins had worried it did not have enough arms, now it looks like it might have too many. I know there are a few ball clubs that would love to have that problem.
Because the question was asked of Frisaro in an open mailbag on the team’s website, he also clarified there are different ways teams go about making deadline trades and how pitchers become expendable at the trade deadline.
“The organization has created bullpen depth, not only on the big league roster, but also at the Double-A and Triple-A levels. But if Ramos is performing, I'd highly doubt the Marlins would deal their closer. More logical trade options would be some of the candidates who start off in the Minor Leagues. Keep in mind that the likely teams that would want Ramos are contenders, not clubs rebuilding. As for Ramos becoming pricey, that wouldn't be an issue after the season. On the flip side, if the Marlins are not contending by midseason, you may see core players being dealt away.”
The Marlins needed to get stronger in the team’s biggest weakness. It appears it has, but also might have an issue now that their dreams of a super bullpen have been realized.