2013 Phillies Report Card: J.C. Ramirez
With the progression of Phillippe Aumont having turned into regression, the arrival of J.C. Ramirez to the Majors gave the Phillies one last avenue to salvage the Cliff Lee trade. In a move that precipitated the Roy Halladay era in Philadelphia, the Phillies traded Lee to the Mariners for Ramirez, Aumont, and Tyson Gillies. Gillies has had problems of his own in the Minors — including a drug offense — so it was up to Ramirez.
As seems to have been the case for many young arms to have populated the Phillies’ bullpen in recent years, it didn’t really work out. In 24 Major League innings thrown between June 23 and the end of the season, Ramirez posted a 7.50 ERA. He walked nearly as many as he struck out, 15 to 16, and he allowed six home runs — an average of one every four innings.
While he wasn’t quite that bad in the Minors, Ramirez did have control issues coming through the system, especially once the Phillies had him work as a reliever rather than as a starter. In 2012, as a full-time reliever between Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley, Ramirez walked 31 in 67.1 innings. In 49 innings, 42 of which came with Lehigh Valley, he walked 25.
When Eric Longenhagen posted his top-ten prospect list in late March, he saw the downfall coming, adding in a side note about Ramirez, “It’s mostly over.” Ramirez is still just 25 years old, but he has been removed from the 40-man roster. As such, he has elected free agency. Another team can see if he can make some kind of miracle breakthrough. The Phillies have far too many better arms to use out of the bullpen to have continued to squeeze blood out of a turnip.[Update: Corrected contract status. Thanks to Brad and Matt in the comments.]
For his brief effort at the Major League level during the second half of the 2013 season, I gave Ramirez a D-. There aren’t any silver linings here.
Grades from the rest of the Crashburn crew: