Change-up King Ramirez Designated for Assignment

Change-up king maybe a stretch, but there’s no doubt the change-up has been the make or break pitch in Edwar Ramirez‘s career with the New York Yankees. It’s the pitch that has been his success, one which he learned essentially on his own after being released by the Los Angeles Angels earlier in his career.

It was announced today that he would be designated for assignment in order to make room for Chan Ho Park on the 40-man roster.

Ramirez posted a 5.58 ERA in 20 games in 2009 and averaged a strikeout per inning. The more concerning number for fans in 2009 was his 1.95 WHIP. That being said, Ramirez’s time was inconsistent, which is something that he has admitted greatly affects his ability to be effective.

His biggest problem remains any pitch that isn’t a change-up. In order to be effective, the righty needs to be able to located his fastball which generally comes in around the upper 80’s.  Without location on his fastball and control of his slider, Ramirez has had a tendency to struggle. Last year, Ramirez threw his curveball 39.5% of the time, compared to 51.8% fastballs. A big sign of those struggles comes when comparing the number of home runs given up this past season prior to 2008. In 55 innings in 2008, he only gave up 7 home runs. In 2009, he gave up 7. That’s a difference of 2.45 home runs per nine innings instead of 1.14.

To be fair, I think Ramirez could be a valuable pitcher for another team if the Yankees put him on waivers and lose him. When used consistently, he’s shown the ability to contribute. I’m not sure if it’s a lack of confidence or simply keeping his mechanics fresh. In my time talking to him, he’s always been a very quiet individual but was never afraid to express his feelings when it came to playing time or his release from the Angels. 2009 was not his best season, despite limited time, but I would certainly be happy to see the Yankees manage to retain Edwar as part of their bullpen depth in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

So who else could the Yankees have DFA’d instead of Ramirez? Do you think it was the right choice to go with Ramirez?

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