Fifth Starter Insurance

Horacio Ramirez has been released by the Seattle Mariners.

Some of you may remember him as the “next big thing” coming out of Atlanta … they hyped him up enough to get fireballing reliever Rafael Soriano for him straight up.

However, he went the way of Bruce Chen, Kevin McGlinchy, Damion Moss, Tim Spooneybarger, Odalis Perez, Danny Meyer, and others in the long line of Braves pitchers who show so much promise as youngsters but never quite live up to their billing after leaving Atlanta.

Ramirez was a bust in Seattle, culminating in a 7.16 ERA last season. But, he’s a lefty, he’s under 30, he throws a heavy sinker, and might benefit from a return to the NL as well as a change in scenery. If he can be had for a minor league deal, why not bring him in as AAA depth / insurance behind El Duque and Mike Pelfrey? He can’t be any worse than Tony Armas, Jr. — who has yet to show up in camp.


Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Walnutz15 March 13, 2008 at 6:13 am
    Any way we can hire Horacio Ramirez in some capacity where he takes the hill AGAINST us if David Wright falls into a slump?

    I seem to remember Wright’s absolute ownage of Ho-Ram (great nickname, by the way — maybe Mr. Spitzer might like to try that one out for awhile?)

    Anyway, to stay on the topic of “next big things” — more in my own circles than around the Majors anyway…..leave it to the kid from Tottenville to piss off Sweet Lou!

    Granted, he’s basically said “start me or trade me” — but Jay Marquis will VERY LIKELY be on the move before camp breaks. Unless, of course, he goes on to dominate the rest of ST, and fall back into the good grace of Mr. Piniella.

    DISCLAIMER: I don’t want him, nor am I saying he’d even be a good fit in the Met clubhouse. Just thought it was interesting — and kinda ties into the Horacio Ramirez sector since both were talented young pitchers that came up through the Braves system….yet haven’t amounted to all that much (Marquis’ track record a tad bit better, but a helluva lot more expensive.)

    P.S. — I love the part about his family, give it up already, Jay. Like you’re poor and in search of work.


    “I love Chicago,” Marquis said. “I definitely want to stay here. This is the place I want to be. I signed here for a reason. But I also signed as a starter, and I think that’s where I help the team the most. Obviously we’ll see what happens when it’s time for [the Cubs] to make their decision.

    “So as much as I want to be here in Chicago — I love it, I love the fans, I love the stadium — I also have a family to worry about, too. I think I can take my services elsewhere if that’s the case and I can help another team, in that capacity as a starter.

    “So, my value doesn’t lie in the bullpen in my mind.”



    “Well, if that’s the case, he can go somewhere else,” Piniella said. “Win a spot in the rotation, you don’t have to worry about it. … I’ve got seven starters here for five spots, you know? It’s a little bit too early to start talking about what he wants to do or not do.”

    Piniella reiterated he has never talked about using Marquis in the bullpen if he doesn’t win a spot.

    “I’ve never said that,” Piniella said. “I’m giving him a chance to compete and win a spot in the rotation.”

    After answering a question about Kerry Wood’s performance, Piniella stopped in mid-sentence and began talking about Marquis again.

    “You know, that galls me about Marquis, it really does,” he said. “I’m not pleased with that comment. We’ve had a good camp over here, everybody’s getting an opportunity. Go out and win a spot in the rotation.”

    Piniella has not spoken to Marquis about his situation and was caught off guard to hear Marquis was basically giving the Cubs an ultimatum

    “Sure it’s a surprise,” he said. “We’ve got seven guys here that are competing for spots in the rotation and everyone is going to be given an equal chance. After the first start of spring training, saying if I’m not going to make the rotation I’d like to go somewhere else?

    “He can go somewhere else right now if he wants. How’s that?”




    Looks like Marquis will be on the move, provided things don’t change in Cubbie-Camp.

  2. sincekindergarten March 13, 2008 at 7:13 am
    Methinks the “talk” that Sweet Lou had with Marquis was one of those affairs where one side did all the talking . . . and it wasn’t Marquis doing the talking.
  3. Walnutz15 March 13, 2008 at 7:32 am
    For some reason, I’m having visions of a Sargeant Hulka/John Winger bathroom meeting in Stripes.

    “You wanna take a poke at me?….c’mon, it’s just you and me kid, man-to-man.”

    Marquis lunges to swing high at Piniella — Sweet Lou counters with a solid jab to the gut.


    (Sorry….I’ll settle down now.)

  4. joe March 13, 2008 at 8:10 am
    Marquis … typical Staten Island attitude … just kidding!

    Seriously though, he’s paved his way out of Chi-town. Strange comments from someone who played an entire year with Piniella and should know better.

    If he wants a starting spot, there are two teams in Florida and one in DC that can use one. Keep him out of Shea, though … Aaron Heilman’s likely to stomp on him if he whines about starting.

  5. Walnutz15 March 13, 2008 at 8:22 am
    So true, Joe — with regard to Heilman.

    And sure, I’ll vouch for the typical S.I. Attitude….but for every couple of Marquis’, there’s a good guy story.

    Got some cage-work in last night with a few of the boys.

    Also in attendance: Tottenville “good-guy” — and former St. Lucie Met, Greg Belson. Tried to pry some Wally Backman stories from him, since he played under him at Lancaster for a bit.

    I brought up Marquis’ latest debacle with Sweet Lou — and we all reminisced on the days of Jay’s SUPERSTARDOM (capitalized, only because I couldn’t put big purple neon Dirk Diggler lighting), and could pin-point the exact moment where his head reached Bonds-like proportions. When he left South Shore All-Stars for Brooklyn Federation because his father didn’t want him playing Shortstop and “ruining his arm”.

    Kid has always been talented, but has had the superstar-part down pat since Day 1. Again, it’s Amazin’ to see he’s pissed the likes of Cox, Mazzone, LaRussa, Duncan, and now Piniella off along the way — to the tune of $9MM+ per season for mediocrity in the Bigs.

    God bless America!

    (Hope everything’s okay with his family on that measley salary. We know it is, so basically — that’s why I’m even commenting like that. Your family has nothing to do with whether you start or relive.)

    *Rant Off*