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:

Michael Paul Eric Ryan
D- D D F

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17 comments

  1. BradInDC

    October 30, 2013 08:03 AM

    Ramirez is out of options. He signed in 2005 and burned all three options in the minors between 2010-2012.

  2. MattWinks

    October 30, 2013 11:03 AM

    Ramirez was outrighted off the roster as it was his second time being removed from the 40 man roster this year, he took the option of electing for Free Agency.

  3. Chris S.

    October 30, 2013 11:28 AM

    Well that Lee trade is working out quite well for us isn’t it? I wanted Brandon Morrow back in that trade…

  4. joecatz

    October 30, 2013 12:46 PM

    the trade we netted lee for the first time (Marson, Carrasco, Donald, Knapp) isn’t looking so good for the indians.

    The Blue Jays have turned Roy Halladay noah synndergard travis Darnaud and John Buck into Kyle Drabek, Michael Taylor, Josh thole, Mike Nickeas, 12mm a year through age 41 for RA Dickey.

    most prospect returns DON’T end up working out.

  5. MattWinks

    October 30, 2013 12:55 PM

    Joe not quite,

    The Blue Jays turned Roy Halladay, Buck, and Noah Syndergaard into Drabek, Thole, Nickeas, Dickey, and Anthony Gose (Taylor to Oakland for Wallace, Wallace to Houston for Gose)

  6. Matt

    October 30, 2013 01:10 PM

    Joe,
    The attrition rate of prospects doesn’t excuse the fact that the Lee trade was universally panned when it was made. It was terrible. The Lee trade to Cleveland may not have turned out so well for Cleveland, but at the time, Marson was thought to potentially be our catcher of the future, Carrasco a potential major league starter (used to be our #1 starter, i believe), and Knapp was a promising arm. Our Lee trade to Seattle netted us a guy thought to maybe be a closer if he turned out alright (Aumont) and two guys most people weren’t too high on. Not to mention the difference between the Cleveland and Philadelphia Lee departures is that Cleveland probably had a lot less leverage, because they had to get rid of him due to salary concerns. Philadelphia trading lee was a shock. They had all the leverage needed to make a trade that would garner, at least, a fair return. They failed abysmally.

  7. Matt

    October 30, 2013 01:11 PM

    ^Carrasco used to be #1 prospect, not starter – typo

  8. sweatingisnormal

    October 30, 2013 02:45 PM

    I like how bloggers want to evaluate trades based on their unquestioned, direct from God prospect list, but have 10000 nit picks with every other evaluation, including ACTUAL performance. It a system set up to never be wrong.

  9. awh

    October 30, 2013 04:01 PM

    This isn’t complicated:

    Barring an Act of God, Ramirez is org filler no matter where he signs.

    This also isn’t complicated:

    The Lee trade to Seattle was panned at the time it occurred because it was a crappy trade for the Phillies and people knew it then.

    Hindsight has merely confirmed the initial evaluation of the trade.

  10. joecatz

    October 30, 2013 04:47 PM

    “The Lee trade to Cleveland may not have turned out so well for Cleveland, but at the time, Marson was thought to potentially be our catcher of the future, Carrasco a potential major league starter (used to be our #1 starter, i believe), and Knapp was a promising arm”

    Marson was behind D’Arnaud on the depth charts by then, and Chooch was firmly entrenched. Carrasco was the top prospect in the organization preseason, but highly erratic. Knapp was at Rookie ball and injured at the time of the trade.

    Aumont was ranked higher than Michael Pineda in their system at the time.

    People say stuff like this all the time, but if Aumont had panned out, was throwing 100, and not walking dudes and ready to step in as a close, far fewer people would pan that deal.

    It is what is, the return for one year of Cliff Lee was fine. Trading him in the first place is the issue.

    the point is that prospects are prospects instead of being called guaranteed future hall of famers for a reason. 90% of them amount to average players at best. Doesn’t mean teams shouldn’t value or develop them or hoard them like honey in an apocolypse. It just means that theres a huge variable.

    It was a bad deal because they didn’t need to trade him. but there are very few deals that would have panned out there.

  11. joecatz

    October 30, 2013 04:48 PM

    I should add that I’m not saying the Lee trade was good, I’m saying it was crappy, and so are about 90% of trades involving multiple prospects for an established star.

  12. phil-er-up

    October 30, 2013 05:11 PM

    I should add that I’m not saying the Lee trade was good, I’m saying it was crappy, and so are about 90% of trades involving multiple prospects for an established star.

    Joe, then that tells me that, unless a team is in a full rebuilding mode, they should never trade an established star… or almost never.

  13. phil-er-up

    October 30, 2013 05:14 PM

    It was a bad deal because they didn’t need to trade him. but there are very few deals that would have panned out there.

    I agree that they didn’t have to, and the reason the haul was so terrible is that they rushed the trade because they were afraid of fan reaction if they didn’t do it quickly.

    All to clear a few bucks from payroll – and yes, I don’t by the “We had to restock the farm” explanation.

  14. Joecatz

    October 30, 2013 06:09 PM

    “Joe, then that tells me that, unless a team is in a full rebuilding mode, they should never trade an established star… or almost never.”

    Well there are certainly other reasons. Maybe you’re clearing payroll, perhaps you have a young up and comer. (Think the Thome trade and Howard) the player is an impending free agent and your not contending…

    Or in the case of a team like the rays, your guy (price) is about to be too expensive and you can’t afford him anymore.

    There are plenty of reasons why trading an established star is right for the organization. That doesn’t change the fact that in most cases the prospects never amount to being the player the star is or was.

    Mainly because there are few teams willing to give up top prospects

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