While high-end relievers like Craig Kimbrel, Daniel Robertson, Cody Allen wait to see where they will pitch in 2019, some teams have decided to look in the bargain bin for bullpen help, at least until the market settles.
— MLB Trade Rumors (@mlbtraderumors) December 19, 2018
The Red Sox reportedly are nearing an agreement with Erasmo Ramirez.
— NESN (@NESN) December 18, 2018
Boston Red Sox Nab Zach Putnam, Erasmo Ramirez on Minor League Deals
Before undergoing Tommy John surgery and missing most of the last two seasons, Putnam was a solid member of the White Sox bullpen from 2014 – 2017, posting a 2.71 ERA and striking out 26.3% of batters faced in 139.1 IP. He dominated hitters outside the zone, generating a 16.1% SwStr%, 36.8% O-Swing%, and 51.1% O-Contact%. In his career he has pitched well against both LHB’s (.242/.321/.363) and RHB’s (.231/.303/.336), allowing him to be a weapon in most situations when healthy.
From 2015 – 2017, Ramirez excelled as a swingman for the Tampa Bay Rays and the Seattle Mariners, going 23-23 with a 3.97 ERA (4.22 FIP, 4.14 xFIP) in 135 appearances (47 starts). Injuries limited him to 45.2 unproductive innings in 2018 (2-4, 6.50 ERA with a 1.40 WHIP) and he became a free agent this offseason after refusing an assignment to the minor leagues.
Putnam and Ramirez are perfect low-risk investments for the Red Sox and give them more options as they shape their 2019 bullpen. With Joe Kelly gone and Craig Kimbrel reportedly seeking a 6-year pact, pursuing any opportunity to add talent is prudent. Neither Putnam nor Ramirez are guaranteed to be on the Opening Day roster, but they both have enough upside to make the team with a strong showing at spring training.