Teams are reportedly monitoring Cubs reliever Neil Ramirez
The Cubs have not decided if the Opening Day roster will be made up of 13 pitchers and 12 position players or if Joe Maddon will have a seven-man bullpen and a five-man bench.
Ramirez is out of minor league options. If he is not on the roster April 3, the Cubs will have to try to send him through waivers with the hope that he is not claimed. Ramirez has a ton of talent and when healthy he can dominate out of a bullpen. Ramirez will not pass through waivers. A team will claim him and risk a roster spot for a pitcher of his caliber.
According to the Tribune, Ramirez is “getting plenty of attention from opposing scouts.” Mark Gonzalez explained that “plenty of second-division teams are keeping a close watch” on Ramirez if the Cubs decide to place him on waivers.
Ramirez has not missed any time this spring and has maintained he is healthy. Ramirez has pitched his way into the roster conversation.
The results, and radar readings, have been mixed this spring.
In five appearances, four-plus innings, Ramirez is 1-1 with a 15.75 ERA and 2.00 WHIP. Ramirez was charged with five runs on three hits without recording an out last Saturday (March 19) which skewed his stats. Ramirez has given up runs in two of the five games and has looked rather sharp during the scoreless appearances.
Ramirez pitched better his last time out than the line indicates. And in the four-plus innings this spring, Ramirez has walked one batter while striking out four.
Ramirez told Carrie Muskat he was happy with the way he pitched last Saturday with the exception of the walk. Ramirez got the weak contact he was looking for and kept the ball down in the zone.
The lack of velocity has raised concerns. Ramirez touched 93 mph a couple of times in his outing last Saturday, mainly sitting in the 91-92 mph range. In the previous outing, Ramirez struck out the side in order while registering 94 mph on the gun.
For as good as Ramirez has looked at times this spring, he has yet to regain the 96 mph heat that made him an effective reliever for the Cubs during the 2014 season.
Neil Ramirez has been encouraged by the fact he is healthy this spring after losing a majority of last season with a shoulder injury.
A majority of the Cubs first roster of the season is all but set, but there could be several difficult conversations as the front office, coaching staff and Joe Maddon decide which direction to go for the last couple of spots.