Detroit Tigers: Cesar Ramos is the Missing Bullpen Piece


The Detroit Tigers started the team’s bullpen renovation by acquiring Francisco Rodriguez from the Milwaukee Brewers. The Tigers’ brass will be hoping the man known as ‘K-Rod’ will stabilize the back end of a bullpen that has previously filled with unproven and unreliable relievers.

Luckily, it won’t be a complete tear down. Alex Wilson and Blaine Hardy proved to be bright spots in a season full of disappointment in 2015. In Rodriguez, Wilson and Hardy the Tigers have three dependable arms who can keep the lead intact while pitching effectively. The trio’s combined presence will do wonders for the team. However, one thing is missing— another setup reliever.

If the division-rival Kansas City Royals have taught us anything, it is that a deep bullpen can win championships.

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Adding another setup reliever would allow Wilson and Hardy to pitch in the sixth or seventh inning. Either could function as an effective setup man, but having both available for earlier work in games will lessen the burden on the rotation and the rest of the bullpen. The switch would also give manager Brad Ausmus more flexibility and options in close games.

The setup reliever that can seriously upgrade the Detroit Tigers bullpen while pushing Wilson and Hardy into earlier work should be Cesar Ramos. Luckily for Ausmus and the Tigers, he was just non-tendered by the Angels.

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim decided not to tender Ramos a contract after a 2015 season in which the reliever posted a sparkling 2.75 ERA (and a 3.02 FIP) in 65 appearances. During the 65 times Ramos pitched in 2015 he totaled 52.1 innings. He also struck out 42 batters and finished 21 games.

What’s more, Ramos was extremely effective in the eighth inning.

The eighth was by the reliever’s best inning as he put an outstanding 1.04 ERA. Ramos faced 68 batters in eighth inning appearances and only allowed two earned runs.

In addition to being a highly-efficient setup reliever, Ramos has found considerable success against the Tigers’ American League Central rivals. He owned a 2.45 ERA against the Royals last season and has yet to allow an earned run when facing the Cleveland Indians. The now-former Angel’s career 1.29 ERA against the Minnesota Twins is also a stellar number.

Ramos also has posted solid numbers against two American League East teams that the Tigers will likely have to go through to reach the World Series in the Boston Red Sox (1.69 ERA in 37.1 innings pitched) and Toronto Blue Jays (3.90  in 27.2 innings pitched).

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In addition to his career statistics, Ramos’ price tag may also be appealing to general manager Al Avila. projected a $1.7 million salary for the pitcher in 2016. If Avila can sign Cesar Ramos for anything close to this, it will go a long ways towards making the bullpen an area of strength for the Detroit Tigers.